They often say that works of art are worth a thousand words, and this was more than evident at an exhibition of young artists, who used their skills with the paint brush to depict serious issues confronting modern Indian society.
An opportunity to spend about half-an-hour at "The Gender Defined World" Exhibition organized by the UK-based Arts University, Bournemouth at the India Habitat Centre here was given to me on Friday evening.
The exhibition was a sight to behold, as it featured 22 powerful expressions of thought with the help of the paint brush by 11th and 12th standard school students hailing from prominent educational institutions across India.
The exhibits reflected their angst, their individual outlook on life, their experiences, beliefs and the environment from which they come from.
"The Gender Defined World" Exhibition is an upshot of an international art exhibition titled "Who Are You In a Gender Defined World?".
The competition saw hundreds of Indian school students taking part. The 22 art works showcased at the India Habitat Centre exhibition were selected out of the 100 best entries evaluated by a panel of judges comprising of eminent personalities from the creative field , both in India and abroad.
Each of the exhibits evoked strong emotion, be it, the graceful depiction of aboy hidden behind a veil, questioning his identity in a world filled with discrimmination, to a rebellious young girl refusing to sit passive anymore, with her wings spread wide.
There was also a self portrait by 16-year-old Megha Agarwal from the Trio World School in Bangalore that focussed on her desire to be a free living human being, while at the same time highlighting the degrading sufferings of women in this gender defined world.
Eighteen-year-old Avni Agarwal of La Martiniere for Girls School in Kolkata came up with a painting of puppet to highlight that despite so-called gender liberation, "social strings still puppet all of us". Her question was why was there a need for parents, teachers, guides and peers to all act in tandem to condition children under their watch to suit acceptable societal norms, and not allow the latter to smell, feel, see and embrace nature in all of its wonder.
Sixteen-year-old Tia Chinai of the Cathedral and John Cannon School in Mumbai sought to highlight the imperfect man in this gender defined world, and the need for women not to see themselves as a burden on society, but to access all opportunities available to males in equal measure.
Eighteen-year-old Richa Jain of Welham Girls' School, Dehradun projected a girl breaking free from her cloistered and caged existence, not wnating to be passive or quiet.
Seventeen-year-old Taarini Ravjit Singh of the Yadavindra Public School in Mohali presented a painting of a girl wanting the freedom to live, dream, fly and imagine in an India scarred by rapes and violence.
Sixteen-year-old Karan Varshney of Tagore International School, Delhi, did a typography on his self portrait to bring out his key qualities in this gender diverse world. He said his exhibit showcased him as an explorer willing to face the world and trying to do different things from others.
Sixteen-year-old Pratyush Swarup of the Pathway's World School, Delhi, portrayed a peaceful soul trapped in a bodycustomized to fit society, but emphasized that his passion lay elsewhere.
The exhibition was without doubt a powerful expression of a dialogue between the artist and his or her audience.
Professor Stuart Bartholomew, Vice-Chancellor of the Arts University, Bournemouth, expressed his delight over the the wonderful young Indian talent on show.
Each of the students were given a certificate of acknowledgement for their brilliant paintings. The competiton was won by 17-year-old Muzammil Hussain of the Welham Boys' School, Dehradun for a painting of a world full of beautiful souls and eyes looking forward to a world like that, a world where there is no bias or discrimmination.
The two top winners received global publicity, with their works featured on huge horadings across the United Kingdom.
Hussain received a full scholarship for a first year foundation course at AUB, while the four runners-up were given scholarships of 1000 pounds each to study at the university. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)