The different ways of seeing!

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by Vidushi Yadav on Sunday, December 7, 2014


Session type

Technical level


I would like to talk about the rich cultures, traditions, artforms that our extremely rich deeply rooted indigenous tribes have. Their life is so very well designed and self sustainable in all the contemporary terms and is intricately interwoven with nature and the materials nature has provided them and how modern ways of education is ruining it for them and all of us.


After my Masters Of Design from IIT Bombay, I came to work with Eklavya Publications and got a chance to work very closely with artists of Bhil tribe (an indigenous tribe of MP extremely rich in art and culture), slum kids whose parents are rag pickers or construction site workers and I got exposed to many different sections of the society which I was comfortably not aware of.
I was amazed seeing how very self sustainable and well designed their cultures are. For example the multi dimensional use of bamboo where bamboo grows as commonly as grass. They eat soft bamboo shoots, they use bamboo to build their houses, their furniture, their dustbins, their vessels, their broomstick, their mats and everything under the sun. And because they will never be short of bamboo there’s no scarcity. Their houses are so cozy with fall ceilings, bamboo curtains that they dont need air conditioners in summers and room heaters in winters. The beautiful holistic design of their culture is extremely rich and age old like a million years old banyan tree which is a home to many species. They are one with nature.

If you see how quickly this age old knowledge is going to perish and how the next generation will have no idea about the languages spoken by them, about how they took care of the nature around them and how beautiful their lifestyle, their homes and how delicious their food was, its almost frightening. Its frightening to see how it will completely disappear in the next two generations because all of them are working hard, taking debts to send their kids to so called ‘modern’ schools, to give so called ‘modern’ education which denies and demeans their culture. Their kids go to school where they are fined if they spoke in any other langauge other than english, which very directly tells the kids their language is inferior.

I want to address this gap in the education system which we very gladly follow and are proud to give our kids. An ideal education system should be an exchange of information, where we gladly take their knowledge and give our knowledge to them and not something which dictates a handful of people’s ideologies. Also, how our education system is feeding kids on what is right and what is acceptable. In many of my experiences during art workshops with kids, when you ask them to make a house irriespective of the kind of house they live they make a very typical concrete house because somewhere their art teacher has told them that this is how the house should look.

I would love to share my experiences and my vision on art, education and culture and I will be humbled if this could start some meaning conversations and could raise important questions on the same.

Speaker bio

I am an animation film maker, illustrator, researcher and a story-teller, studied Masters of Design from Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute Of Technology, Bombay specialising in Animation Design. I work towards exploring the intersection of Art and education through meaningful design and innovation, which is also self-sustainable and responsible towards the local people and the environment. Currently, I am working with Eklavya Publications, staying in Bhopal, M.P. Working closely with tribal cultures and art of indeginous tribes in MP for example Bhil, Pithora, Gond etc.
I work with kids, understanding the needs and gaps and create content like illustrations, animations, give storytelling workshops to kids through tactile hands-on medium to help them learn complex things easily and creatively making learning fun and subtle, documenting their experiences, their visual vocabulary and using them to create alternative ways of education which is more meaningful and responsive to the kids belonging to a certain environment. I work largely with underprivileged kids who go to government municipal school and my idea is to take it from the very grass root level. I have illustrated a series of books on Police guide to Child rights with UNICEF, developed comic books and quiz books with Forest Department, government of Gujarat and Gujarat Marine National Park and Sanctuary Conservation Society to develop an understanding and sensitivity towards marine environment in kids. I am also writing a paper on how one reads images which is based on the experiences I have gained by working in field with different sections of the society.
A 4 minute animation film made by me during my college project last year got recognised and selected in International Women Film Festival, Herat, Afghanistan. It was translated in Dari (Farsi) Language and got screened in three countries Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Iran. This film is an attempt to understand and portray personal emotional baggage carried by people, unknowingly everywhere with them and how those baggage control their decisions and course of life.