SAARC ART & CULTURAL PROGRAMME
Empowerment is a socio-cultural NGO, aims to preserve, promote and disseminate Art, History, Culture and Heritage of India to achieve the mission of creating awareness from the grass root level to the International Cultural Exchange level. To this effect Empowerment conducts various art and cultural programmes on various socio-cultural themes designed to suit the needs of children and youths.
Empowerment organised very unique Art Camp, “Cultural Confluence- United Colours” especially designed for children in association with Indian Council for Cultural Relations (Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India) starting from 25th May- 31th May 2012. Also, in future, Empowerment is working on holding International Art Competition for children with 80 countries participating in 2012 and Art Camp & Exhibition of Indian and German children in Germany in 2013.
Empowerment conducted a seven day Art Camp for young budding artists called ‘Cultural Confluence-United Colours’. This camp was the first of its kind that brings together 21 bright young artists from the South Asian nations- three each from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Maldives to join 15 other children from India.
During that week, they were exposed to several sets of art and cultural programs- painting sessions for all the children, visits to art galleries like National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Heritage walk in the historical parts of Delhi, guest lectures by eminent artists, and several other cultural events.
Culture plays an important role in the development agenda of any nation. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and cultural activities. As such, culture cannot be confined to the boundaries of any particular creative sector or to any geographic boundaries of nation states. There has been a free exchange of art in its various forms over the centuries across various parts of the world.
The South Asian region constitutes one of the oldest civilizations in this world. If the silk route and the Mughal dynasty weave a common thread between Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, religion and belief systems are the common thread binding India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Like dialects of a common language, the art language of these countries draws from one common language- the language of culture.
Children are perhaps the best ambassadors of art. Fresh talent, novel thinking, uncluttered feelings and zeal to innovate- all these qualities go on to make children the best students of art. Children are also the best ambassadors of culture. They are eager to learn and happy to mingle with other children of their ilk, albeit from different countries.
It is with this objective that Empowerment plans to bring together the children from certain SAARC nations- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan to its “Cultural Confluence-United Colors”. This week long camp will be held in New Delhi by Empowerment. The event will culminate with an exhibition of the paintings made by these students. The students will be exposed to Indian music, dance forms, an interaction with a renowned Indian contemporary artist and a visit to the heritage monuments in Delhi.
Towards this objective Empowerment was completely supported by ICCR, without which this event wouldn’t have become a reality.
Execution: In keeping with the above objectives the week was designed in a manner to include exposure to various cultural mini events such that the students get a gist of and an understanding into some of the cultural nuances of Indian art and history. The calendar of events included visits to the culturally rich and significant places that mark the capital city, interaction with a renowned painter artist and workshop teaching the art of folk painting Madhubani.
Programs Outcomes and Its Lasting Impact
- The cultural exchange provided a platform to the children from different countries a chance to come forward and unleash their hidden talents at an international level.
- This event helped Empowerment in achieving the mission of creating awareness of our rich heritage, culture at the international level.
- This process of familiarization and friendship at peoples’ level proved to be invaluable in facilitating goodwill between nations.
- This Cultural Confluence not only advocated mutual acceptance of cultures but also promoted a change in thinking. This thinking when given to children empowered them in becoming ‘global citizens’ rather than restricting oneself to the confines of national boundaries.
- On one hand, the event reflected different ideologies, culture, art and values of the nations. On another hand, and more importantly, it showcased how similar we are in our art forms and developed camaraderie among the children and the countries. It also developed interest among children to take up further study on these similarities.