Below you can read about previous years' experience of the IIFA India Teaching Residency.
Alumni on IIFA Teaching Residency, 2014
In 2014, Kristian Fletcher, Rebecca Harper, Kathryn Maple and Leon Pozniakow were selected for the IIFA Teaching Residency in India for the duration of three months.
Alumni work with homeless and disadvantaged children in India, 2012
In 2012, in addition to teaching at Modinagar, alumni Emma Seach, Siobhan Lennon, Konrad Gabriel and Jonathan Farr worked with homeless and disadvantaged children in Delhi. The murals that they created in Jamghat and Karm Marg not only transformed the environment in which the children live but in addition the process of making them clearly gave the children a lot of confidence and joy as well as giving them the skills to draw and develop their own ideas. Below are some images of Karm Marg and some reflections on the experience by Siobhan Lennon followed by images of Johnny working at Jamghat and some testimonials from the children
Karm Marg, India
Some general reflections now that I'm back home, miles away. Painting the mural with the children was such a wonderful experience. They worked hard, no complaining about washing up or tidying even very late at night. They had such enthusiasm and good spirit about it that I felt it was just a pleasure to be there with them. It also makes me see all the restrictions we put on being around children and health and safety here in the UK. Some of it is necessary but most of it just makes relationships
stiff and unnatural. I'm attempting to get a mural painted. On the estate where I live in London, involving the local kids and the nearby school, this is undoubtedly because of my experience at Karm Marg.
It will be really interesting to see how it turns out and if it's allowed to happen.
Siobhan Lennon, 2012
I loved wall painting. That time doing mural with you was a very good time of my life. I felt very good and was very happy with you. I want you to teach me more. Thank you for coming to Jamghat and spending so much time with us.
Faruq (15 years)
Jonny Bhaiya, you came here and I loved it. We drew many pictures with you. I felt very good doing wall painting. I really want you to come here again. Bhaiya, you paint so well! I also want to learn it and do it like you!
Roshan (11 years)
I wanted to work at Jamghat with the kids there to make a mural having spoken to Konrad and Emma about their very positive experience painting at Karm Marg. I felt anxious that I wouldn't be able to manage the mural with the kids ok the first day, and I was worried it wouldn't work. However, the kids were so enthusiastic and hard working and have a great way of looking after and organising each other, that I didn't have any problem and the project went really well. I wanted the mural to be made by the kids as much as by me or more, and that happened, which was brilliant. The kids were very warm and friendly which made the experience something I won't forget, it was brilliant. I especially enjoyed going to the park with them and being taught the game with the ball and stones piled up and chatting to them walking through the neighbourhood. I was very impressed by them, by the way they seem to look out for one another. I felt very very welcome there and would've liked to go again soon after.
Jonathan Farr, 2013
Both projects were made possible by Artreach, a charity that connects artists with NGO's working with children in and around Delhi. Past projects have shown what a difference a few days of painting can make. For more information about artreach go to www.artreachindia.com
Emma Seach writes about her experiences during the IIFA Teaching Residency
It is very difficult to sum up the experience of going to India other than I cannot wait to get back there. I had no idea what to expect, and had had very few conversations with people about what it was actually like there. The reality went far beyond anything I had in my mind and the extremes stretched further than what I have seen before.
When I wrote my statement to go to India I said that I wanted to deal with colour more in my work and I thought that India would be a good place to learn. I have never seen so much colour in my life, in everything, in the clothes, in road signs, in fields, on women dressed in orange or red while wading though the greenest crops. When I was painting in our studio in Delhi I based my colours on the washing line outside my window where changing clothes and sheets of faded yellows, greens and terracottas made amazing colour combinations every few hours. I got depressed when I put my clothes of black and navy blue out to dry! Aswell as all the people and the landscape, the rooms of open shop fronts and houses were all different colours and then the rooms within those rooms going back and back were again changing colour combinations. These buildings, as they were often lit from a single light bulb looked, for me, just like a scene from a Carravagio painting, This was helped by the cows hanging around outside and people wrapped in varying kinds of cloth.
The architecture was not something I had thought of before I went so this provided another lovely shock and became the main inspiration for the work that I did there. Delhi in some parts had that old future feeling of a foggy Bladerunner set with heavy concrete buildings, messed up wires and flashing neon signs. On the way out of delhi I
fell in love with the concrete flyovers and the many watertanks surrounded by bamboo scaffholding (I have included pictures). The house we lived in was a huge 1930s building with seemingly endless corridors and locked rooms. One of the caretakers showed us around some of the more hidden parts of the house. I got lots of information from this building for further drawings. The people working there were lovely and really made it feel like home. The university where we taught was based in a huge disused cloth mill. Some of the mill had been turned into classrooms and the rest lay as a dust covered factory with all the machines, some still with the cloth running through them.
Mr Roy, the head of the university, gave us a two hour tour in our first week there. The other thing I wrote in my statement before going was that I wanted to see how my drawing subjects in London held up elsewhere, this old factory reenergised these same subjects and provided loads of new material to work from. It was not the easiest place to work however as the place was a monkey playground and sometimes quite scary.
The teaching in the university was a huge learning curve I think for all of us. We had classes of up to 70 students and free range to teach them what we felt was necessary and exciting. This was really inspiring work. We worked hard planning lessons together and built great relationships with the students. We were all sorry to leave and I am sure all of us would love to go back and do more teaching.
The experience gave me the confidence to teach drawing to large groups and inspired me to do the same in other countries. After the university in Modinagar I travelled to Udiapur where I taught drawing in an alternative education centre. This was a massive lesson on how our education systems are set up and how they relate to our
lifestyles and work. The place was called Shikshantar and has a great website where you can read their ideas. I learnt alot through them and gained some ideas of how to do drawing tuition elsewhere in India and in Mexico.
Over Christmas Konrad and I went to the Himalayas while Siobhan went over to Calcutta. From the mountains we took a bus that swung around the single track roads of the mountain sides to visit old villages with carved wooden houses next to the river. We spent new years eve camping by a lake with a view of Himalayan peaks, listening to the hyenas and leopards in the forest behind us.
We all met again for 3 days to paint a huge mural in the entrance of hall of a children's home in south Delhi. Everything here connected up out of coincidence as they worked very closely with the education centre from Udaipur and had published a book which happened to have a profile of a student we had worked with in Modinagar. This mural was the biggest painting I have ever done and from the top of a very long and bendy bamboo ladder. We played games with the children to get ideas for the painting and then they all helped us to cover a very large space in a very small amount of time. During this visit to Delhi we were also lucky enough to go to the Delhi Art Fair.
After leaving the other two to their own travels I went off on a motorbike to see some of south Rajasthan and got a very long train journey to Varanasi, where in the morning the light looked like a Canaletto painting. After this I headed back home. London had never felt so quiet and clean and grey, as soon as I got back it felt like I had just woken up. I have new energy for work here and am happy to stay still and work from all the drawing notes I took in India. I thought so much about eastern and western culture, there is too much to say about the energy, the way of people I learnt from there, the religion, the scenery, the massive variety of just about everything from food to faces to wealth and life style, from Himalayan mountains to misty moon-landings in the national park with elephants and tigers. All this provided me with one of the most inspiring times and like i said i cant wait to go back.
Here are some photos of some of the things I mentioned.
Siobhan Lennon talks about her time during the IIFA teaching residency
The two month teaching residency at the International Institute of Fine Arts in Modinagar, India, has come to a close. It was an intense two months of teaching, we worked with almost all the students at the school. They straddled different disciplines - painting, fashion, textiles, graphic design and an 80 strong foundation year. As a teaching group we strove to bring our skills, knowledge and teaching methods to the school and the students. We brought into the classroom some new approaches - primarily through the use of observational drawing, and injected a little vitality into what was a static, dusty atmosphere. In the short period at IIFA we saw big changes in so many of the students and felt a definite enthusiasm growing. The school is full of potential with some very talented individuals. Since finishing the teaching residency I have traveled across India from Delhi to Kolkata and North into the Himalaya and the magical state of Sikkim.
Siobhan Lennon, 2012