Saturday, January 26, 2008

Arty? Not me!!------Sunday Scribblings

Posting this for Miscellaneous for Sunday Scribblings.

In July 2007, I joined a course for Art Appreciation conducted by National Museum in Delhi. There are twenty classes of two hours duration each every Thursday for 6 months, that is, until mid December. One has to attend at least 16 lectures and submit an assignment consisting of answering five questions out of many at the end of the course. After that is evaluated, one gets a certificate through convocation, held by the museum.

The big question is why I joined it and what does it entail?
Since I was in school, I had heard of this course conducted by National Museum. I had wanted to attend it. Something or the other came up and I could never get around it. This course is not really meant for those arty types! It is in fact for the nonprofessional, who has no knowledge of art, to create awareness about what is art, how it developed through the centuries, why we should learn about it. Therefore, people from diverse fields who are interested to know about art, join this course. From journalists to diplomats, to bureaucrats, teachers, students, homemakers and of course, foreigners.

Every Thursday, it felt good to attend the classes from 5:30-7:30 pm. It had been a long time since I took any kind of course. The lectures were good and interactive. Those covered history of art right from Stone Age to present times. It dealt mostly with Indian art although Japanese and Chinese art were taken separately. The influence of religion was taken in a detailed way. The centuries were seen through development of art, i.e., sculptures, terracotta, architecture, collages, various forms, certain nuances pertaining to those prevailing times. Via art, architecture, I learnt about history, those finer points of it, I knew nothing about.

We were shown films, slides and provided with materials for certain lectures. Although, National Museum is a familiar place for me but a guided tour was in the agenda of the course and it was very enlightening to see it through the eyes of the academicians. There was a field trip too for the various monuments in Delhi at the end of the course. One had an enhanced sense of understanding those various art forms on those monuments. There was a difference in our outlook before and after the course. Writing those assignments too taught me a lot. I had to look around from books, internet and photographs. After a long time, I was doing assignments and that too I opted for hand written ones.

What did it teach me? Mainly history and how to look for finer details to know what period it might have been made. It also taught me about mindset of rulers. The subtle shift of religion... when, where, why and how was somewhat understood. It felt good to interact with such a varied group of people. Our discussions were good. In a way, I was richer for the experience. I think more people should opt for it. I am trying everyone I know to get enrolled into it..:D


myrtle beached whale said...

Just last night, a friend and I were discussing the fact that our American schools generally do not provide education and appreciation of the arts. When budgets are cut, art is one of the first to go. When I was in elementary school art, music, and poetry were major parts of our education. I think it made us a kinder, gentler generation. I believe that introduction to the arts early in the education process would result in less kids roaming the halls with assault weapons. But I could be wrong.

Shari said...

I'm sure it did make you a richer person. You were also able to share your experience with us. It sounds like the type of class I need. When I went to Europe, I enjoyed meandering through a few museums. I discovered a lot of beautiful art. But, I had no idea what I was looking at. In high school, I took a how-to art class, but it was not art appreciation.

Anonymous said...

I see the value of such course after reading your post. The growth in understanding and appreciation of the arts should complement your other strength. Well Done!

Writing on Board said...

Sign me up. You are inspiration root. -Alex

Beau Brackish said...

Funding for the arts in the states have been under attack since the Reagan years, especially in the schools. Conservatives apparently see an appreciate for art as a threat to their vision of an obedient society of passive worker bees.

I agree 100% with Myrtle Beached Whale. Teaching an appreciate for the arts, music and poetry in the schools at an early age makes children more well rounded and aware of the world around them. But there is much more money to be made getting kids hooked on TV, sugar, video games and ritalin. The might dollar is always king in the USA.

rebecca said...

for all of us be truly well-rounded, we need to use both sides of our brains. if we are primarily left, then we need to work on our right and vice versa. i am happy to hear you took and enjoyed this -- in all its varied forms -- i could not live without. so much beauty and knowledge to be seen and learned....

Devil Mood said...

That sounds really interesting. I'm not very Arty myself but I like things with a cultural and historical context behind,it's really enriching to the way we see the world around us.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a wonderful class...I am sure it made your art experience so much more pleasurable to be able to "read" the art beyond your initial reaction. I really enjoyed your post. :)

Pri said...

mmm that sounds like a wonderful course...
and sooner or later we do realise the importance of things we've learnt :)

keep up the spirit!

Robin said...

That sounds like a fascinating class. I find that having at least a basic understanding of a piece's context or message makes the viewing experience so much richer.

Lilibeth said...

I would have loved it too. Not being gifted in art myself hasn't kept me from marveling at it throughout my whole life.

Anonymous said...

i also agree. art and its history should be taught in school. world history and literature were my favorite classes in high school. i should have taken art as an elective in college but it was onto business, business, business. enhancing ones super powers is key!

and your name "gautami sujatu" sings beautifully. ")

Anonymous said...

Whenever I read something you right I fele as if you have invited me to be a guest in your home.
When I was in college I took a similar course. Our final project was to actually create some art.
The teacher said, "Draw a bowl of fruit in one one of the styles you have learned about."
Now I like to draw, but if I am asked to draw something specific, well that's a problem.
Over and over again I tried to draw the fruit. pastels, paints, oils, nothing pleased me.
Finally I grabbed a stark white piece of heavy sketch paper and a think black drawing pencils.
I outlined fruits and vegetables on a flat platter. No shading nothing - just stark black outlines. I tried the platter in bold black lines.
My best chum at the time thought I was crazy.
As we fiuled into class I laid my project on the table loaded with colorful renditions of all types of fruit.
The following week I approached the class ensioning a bright red F on my project.
Upon entering the room I noticed that several beautiful drawings of fruit were pinned to the board.
My black & white was dead in the center.
The instructor began to describe each style used for the various drawing, and then she got to mine.
"And this final one is an excellent example of Egyptian style art. Notice thebold lines....Frances what made you choose this?"
"I just love Egyptian art, and the powerful message it sends."
I actually got away with that and an A plus.
Sometimes life just throws you a gift out of nowhere.
Happy Sunday

Jennifer Hicks said...

it's wonderful to hear that you're exploring new and interesting things - creativity feeds creativity!

anthonynorth said...

I sometimes think there is no more important subject than history. We learn how people make the same mistakes over and over again.

Maree Jones said...

I love learning for the sheer joy of learning. Sounds like a great program!

Tumblewords: said...

Enjoyed reading about your study - it is always exciting to take on new ideas!

Jack Greening said...

I'm glad I read your post it brought up a lot of miscellaneous thoughts about Art and life. Isn't there a quote that states that Art doesnt imatate life but life imitates Art. We are all artists (Creators) at the core of our being, don't you think? There's a song, poem or dance resonating in all of us. Finaly I'm thinking of Keats....'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' Thanks again Gautami

Cyn Bagley said...

Sounds like a fun and informative course. I also believe that literature and history goes hand in hand.

You can see my thoughts on the subject here

Yours, Cyn

UL said...

That sounds so much fun, Gautami. Hope I will be able to find time to do things I wanna do, one of these days.