Within a few weeks of arriving at my project site I decided I was going to paint a giant world map. I chose the world map for two reasons. One, I wanted to spark children’s curiosity for the wider world and give them some concept of where they are and where everything else is, I wanted to inspire them to think bigger. Secondly, geography is severely lacking as a taught subject, I suppose because it is not seen as relevant to future employment (presumably, if you asked, in the village). But I don’t think education should be done with occupation and employment as the end goal. If anything, that mindset is one that is plaguing creativity in India today. I chose the world map over a map of India or Rajasthan because I wanted to show them where I’m from (and explain that it’s a little further than Delhi or Bombay).
I never actually got the go ahead to start it, there was always something else someone wanted me to do. Instead, when I had some spare time, I just started it. I have just two brushes, and both are in a dire state. The larger brush I think will be thrown away now I’m done with it, and the smaller one…. well. Let’s just say if I had an option I’d throw that away too. Here’s my progress so far, 45 hours in:
It’s not just the children that have no understanding of their place in the world, teachers have pointed to Africa and told their children that it’s India, and they’ve pointed to Saudi Arabia and called it Pakistan.
So up next, I’m going to draw places of interest, landmarks and physical features, be they skyscrapers, mountains, deserts, animals or monuments. I’ve figured out about thirty so far, but we’ll see how many make it onto the map. My ambition has some limits… I think I’ve been lucky with how it’s turned out so far.