What food is to health is creativity to human mind. Realising this amazing potential, one-and-a-half years ago, Tanya Abraham formed The Art Outreach Society (TAOS) in Kochi. Beneficiaries of this out-of-the-box thought are underprivileged children across six government schools in Kochi.
“Not all children can pick up every subject with equal skill, it revolves around a person’s genetic makeup. Creativity, on the other hand, can quickly register in their minds. We have classes where artists use origami to teach mathematics. It’s very much psychology oriented,” says Tanya, who is also the creative director of Kashi Art Gallery in Fort Kochi.
With so much of love for art embedded deep inside in her mind, research into this area was the foundation upon which Tanya built TAOS up. “Innovative thinking is an ability that distinguishes human beings from animals. Indulging in creative processes activates certain neurons, the absence of which can lead to its slow down. The children may not have enough opportunity to figure out and answer these things on their own, and we help them out,” explains Tanya.This should not be mistaken for forcing things down their throat. There’s plenty of room for children to let their imaginations fly and keep on experimenting. “People with less opportunity are able to make the best of the skills they have. This is art education where all kinds of visual skills — drawing, sketching, colouring or painting — come to play. We give opportunity to open their imagination and guide them to experiment,” says she.
Apart from getting them involved in creative activities, the students are taken on a visit to her gallery, where they get to see art exhibitions and have conversations with artists. The other way around, artists from India and abroad go and deliver lectures in the schools. It is a comprehensive project, as part of which, they are taken for heritage walks in Kochi.
A journalist since 12 years, Tanya is an author too. Her first work, Fort Cochin, History and Untold Stories, was released in 2009. She is in the making of her next, a book on food and culture.
There is more to come in future. “We’d extend it to more schools, include art history, culture and heritage as part of our programme,” she concludes.