What a beautiful thing to have, imagination, and there is none stronger than that which is lent wings by a child’s whimsy and innocence. At the Children’s Art Fest 2020, a land of imagination was built by youngsters – they told stories capturing the essence of Wildlife SOS rescues, they stitched quilts for the elephants under the care of Wildlife SOS and most importantly, learnt lessons in compassion and empathy. There were many attendees at the event including Amar Chitra Katha, Birla Open Minds, Prerna, Teach for India (Hyderabad), Deep Red Ink and YONO SBI – there were individual stalls and kiosks set up by the attendees to spread awareness about their work.
The Children’s Art Festival, held annually, was conceived as a celebration of art and culture which engages children in an array of innovative art-based activities to make learning fun. The 3-day fest was hosted by The Children’s Fine Art Gallery, and brought under one roof more than 5000 children, reputed mentors, art practitioners, teachers, associates of the art fraternity and a huge number of parents and guests. Many art related activities and workshops, captivating displays, engaging installations are installed to stimulate the children. The venue was at Jawahar Bal Bhawan in Hyderabad.
Amidst the brouhaha, separate workshops for the children were organized including a quiz, arts and crafts, face painting, mehendi (henna) and rangoli activities and some competitions. Amongst the workshops were the Spot Writing competition based on some amazing wild animals rescued by Wildlife SOS, and the Quilt Making competition where the lovely children made some warm blankets for the elephants at Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC) in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Chiranjib Mazumdar, Volunteer Coordinator at Bannerghatta Bear Rescue Centre (BBRC), represented Wildlife SOS at the festival and spoke to people about the mission, programs, outreach and accomplishments.
In the Spot Writing competition, the stories of Rangila the sloth bear, the elephants Asha and the Nut Herd comprising Macademia, Walnut, Peanut & Coconut, and Pari the leopard were given a makeover by children, who built tales of friendship, families and choice shining a surreal light on their history. Rangila was a 19-year-old bear rescued by Wildlife SOS in an anti-poaching operation from the Indo-Nepal border, the Nut Herd and Asha rescued from strenuous living conditions in a circus and as a begging elephant respectively, and Pari the leopard was the first paralysed leopard ever treated at the Wildlife SOS run Manikdoh Leopard Rescue Centre and released safely into the wild. The children were given an hour to choose a profile of any of these rescued animals and weave a story in their own words combining facts and fiction to create a prize-worthy story.
After the children were done crafting imaginative tales on their favourite characters, they were taken to participate in the quilt making workshop, where bright fabrics and glittering threads awaited their touch. The community arts project conceived around the rescued elephants at ECCC. The objective of this workshop was to imbibe the values of coexistence with wild animals. After completion, the quilts were to be presented to Wildlife SOS so that they can be put to use at the conservation centre.
It was an immensely rewarding experience to be a part of the innovative project and help hone young minds! We thank the organisers for allowing us to be a part of the fest.