A look at the swirls and the colours on these utilitarian pottery items will not give you a clue as to they were made by young students. They are part of an initiative undertaken by Delhi-based artist Probir Gupta to provide utilitarian pottery training workshops for underprivileged children.
This almost self-funded project has been ongoing for the past four years. He intends to not just equip them with skills that can help them earn a living in the future but also offer them therapeutic healing. Neuroscience explains the therapeutic impact of pottery - alleviating stress, enabling an optimistic outlook, and improving concentration and self-worth, among others.
He believes these children need as much of this healing as possible for them to take on life and the challenges that will arise when they become young adults. Over the years, more than twenty such children have been trained under his mentorship and some of them have endeavored to become skilled potters while some have had to quit the learning in pursuit of other job opportunities as they turned adults.
Currently, he is mentoring three girls and a boy with autism, all of whom are in ninth grade. He intends to continue this project for a minimum of four years to enable these children to go to university and pursue careers in a similar domain with the same passion, sincerity, talent and perseverance they have shown so far. Through this project he hopes to inspire them to pursue further studies and gain employment in teaching the craft.
The pottery produced by these children will be exhibited along with the works of some of the most prominent contemporary artists such as Vivan Sundaram, Qamar Dagar, Sumedh Rajendran, Sonia Khurana, Ravi Agarwal, Ranbir Kaleka, Ram Rahman, Mudita Bhandari, Manjunath Kamath, GR Iranna, Gauri Gill, Ela Mukherjee, Dipalee Daroz, Amar Kanwar, and Alok Som; who have come together in solidarity to support this project.
All the funds raised by the sales of artworks, pottery, and donations will go back into the sustainability and growth of this project.
The exhibition will be held at Galerie Romain Rolland, Alliance de Francaise de Delhi, from October 11-18 every day from 11am to 8pm.