The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Paint our World fundraiser exhibition at Welcom Art, ITC Sonar

When she was four, she saw some children standing by the road, looking for morsels of food in the trash as she passed by. She later realised that they were unlike her and it was a way of life for them.

The vignette was permanently etched in her mind. Much later, after finishing studies abroad among other things, she came back to India and started Paint Our World (POW), a social initiative to infuse a new way of life in the pitiful lives of such children, a way of fun and learning expressive art. Paint Our World is a humanitarian project dedicated to making a positive difference to the lives of underserved children.

POW works to emotionally empower children who have been through trauma – this includes child sexual abuse and becoming orphaned. Its aim is to give them times that are fun, that are essentially what childhoods ought to be about. In its spaces, it works with the children in subtly therapeutic ways, like giving painting lessons. In the process, it hopes to equip the children with a better chance of becoming happy and stable adults leading purposeful lives.

Dr Priya Virmani, founder-director, Paint our World was sharing with us all this on the inauguration of Agapi, the fundraiser exhibition for her project in Welcom Art, the art gallery at ITC Sonar, last month. Select paintings by the POW children were up for sale. She expressed deep gratitude to Mr Atul Valla, GM, ITC Sonar, for the valuable support by providing the space for holding the exhibition. She also thanked renowned photographer Kaunteya who gave four of his photographs for sale in the exhibition and her friends, who were present, for helping her put up the exhibition in various ways (like designing the publicity material among other things).

Mr Atul Bhalla, GM, ITC Sonar, lighting the inaugural lamp

Priya is a political and economic analyst by profession and has a PhD from University of Bristol, apart from being a mentor and life coach. She contributes to renowned publications like The Guardian.

 Dr Priya Virmani (extreme right) at the inauguration

The interesting part is that even though many of the child members of POW have seen the worst side of a family life, the subjects of their paintings are to the contrary. Some of the paintings showed a happy family, something that comes only in the fantasy of the painters. Due credit goes to POW for enabling them to think like average children. Take a look at them below.

POW operates in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore. In Kolkata, it began by working with children in Sonagachi – the city’s red light district. Their current groups include children rescued from a life of sleeping rough in the city’s railway stations.

A large screen displayed a series of projected photographs shot at POW, depicting the delightful experience these children go through.

The counter displayed mementos designed with the children’s paintings, like greeting cards and coffee mugs for the visitors to buy and support the project in a small way.

If you are interested to support POW, visit its website (click on the link). You can also visit its Facebook page and follow its Twitter handle for regular updates.

#PaintOurWorld #SocialProject #FundRaiser #WelcomArt

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