Tata Steel Foundation organises an exhibition of paintings by children in Bhubaneswar

-Part of Learning Outcomes in Grassroots Odisha of the Students of Education Signature Programme of TSF

Bhubaneswar, September 19, 2023: An exhibition of paintings made by tribal children in the remotest hamlets of Odisha was organised by the Tata Steel Foundation (TSF) from September 17 to 19, 2023, at the Lalit Kala Akademi in Bhubaneswar. A set of 111 paintings made by 98 children who are a part of the TSF’s Education Signature Programme was curated in collaboration with the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) and put on display for three days.

As part of the exhibition, a discussion on the learning outcomes of the programme was carried out with P. Sainath, Founder Editor of People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), and Sourav Roy, CEO of Tata Steel Foundation (TSF), on a concluding note on September 19, 2023.

These young artists come from 57 schools in the age group of 9 to 15 and are studying in Classes 3 to 9. Within the young artists, girls outnumber boys 68 to 30. The schools are situated in blocks including Banspal, Champua, Danagadi, Ghatgaon, Jhumpura, Joda, and Sukinda blocks of Jajpur and Kendujhar districts. The 12 tribes the children belong to are: Bathudi, Bhuiya, Bhumij, Gandia, Gond, Ho, Kolha, Mankirdia (also spelled Mankidia, an offshoot of the Birhor tribe), Munda, Samti, Santal, and Sounti. Some of these are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.

During the discussion on the final day of the event, the children’s paintings were viewed as results of the learning they received as a part of the programme and also gave an idea of their vision of the future in alignment with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking on the occasion, P. Sainath, Founder Editor of PARI observed, “You see the effort and the thought these children have put into their paintings. I have gone through every single one of them and have gotten to know different tales every time. What did it take—a few colour pencils and water colours? Look at what they turn out to be. That explains what education can do for children like them.”

Expressing his thoughts during the discussion, Sourav Roy, CEO, TSF said, “Many of these young artists are first-generation learners who have become inspirations to all around them. Their paintings tell stories that might be overlooked otherwise, which is what makes this exhibition even more worthwhile. One must interact with them directly, for the outcome of their learning is reflected in the way their stories come out through paintings. Education being the driving force towards visualising a world that needs the overall development of children, the Education Signature Programme intends to motivate students from communities to realise their potential, their artistic ability, in this case.”

An online version of the exhibition was inaugurated on April 12, 2023, at the Bombay House in Mumbai. The Foundation’s Education Signature Programme is a single umbrella programme with multiple components that are harmonised to create lasting change. Operational in 37 blocks of 5 districts across Jharkhand and Odisha, the programme has covered more than 3 lakh children so far. Activated through the three core elements of access, learning, and governance, the programme reaches the last-mile children and the most challenging cases of child labour and helps turn habitations into Child Labour Free Zones (CLFZ).

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