Lon-art was born out of this travel in India, Rishikesh, where our founder María spent two months running art workshops and activities for a children’s home, Ramanas Garden.
This project was developed from scratch with all the children at Ramanas Garden. We began looking for inspiration by taking photographs around the gardens, drawing ‘en plein air’ around the compound, which was full of flowers, vegetables and animals. Although Ramana’s has flourishing gardens and wildlife, we realized the compound mainly consisted of concrete and brick buildings. For this reason, we decided to create mosaics in various places. Beginning with four of the columns of the classrooms and boys bedrooms, we then began to sprinkle mosaic surprises around the compound to add more colour. We found that representing the garden and its surroundings made a stunning mosaic that reflected the spirit of the children’s house! We felt that this project had a successful impact on the whole home in terms of participation as all hands placed a tile somewhere around the gardens, including volunteers, staff and children of all ages.
Not all of the children were involved in the process in the beginning, but slowly during the process, all of them started to participate in some ways; placing tiles, grouting, mixing cement or cleaning up.
We see the importance of creating an awareness around the artwork, for the children to respect and value their work, and to be able to conserve the artworks for the future. It is essential that the children are proud, gain self- confidence through creating and have the responsibility of taking care of it.
We decided to explore the media of collage as a way to build compositions from a different perspective. The basis of the collages was based on the photographs of the garden and the children’s portraits. We saw some fantastic developmental work and skills, however, most of the children were having difficulties making a composition by mixing different layers of media, shapes, images, pastels and water colour. The collage was a working process, which we continued to develop in daily workshops.
And we also did...
Drama- The children were being challenged with improvisation, being put in scenarios and situations where they could adopt different characters and role- plays. They were able to express themselves through bodily movements, voice projection, spontaneity, individually and in teams. With the heavy Bollywood musical influence of the Indian society, the children showed a love and playful confidence for singing, dancing and acting and love watching themselves on camera.
The children discovered through recording their own drama workshops, that they were able to recognise composition, perspective, aesthetics, sounds, lighting and colour.
Photography: Photography was our initial media and way of communication to explore, reflect and tell stories within the home. Photography was as our preliminary exploration and inspiration for further works we engaged in. The children were excited from the first day to discover they could use our I-phones and cameras to take their own photos.
With all the children artworks we wanted to create notebooks and calendars for the kids to sell in the cafe as a way of social enterprise that would help them to have an extra source of income to keep Raman’s Garden running.