During the annual festival season of Dec '01/Jan '02, Mohanam cultural centre offered a two-days programme for the children and youth of the villages. Some 150 boys and girls gathered to celebrate the finishing of the first term of the ongoing classes in Bharat Natiyam, classical singing, drawing and sculpture and martial arts. Each class gave a presentation to visiting children from the AVAA- Saturday Arts camp, who in their turn promised to invite all the Mohanam children to their own programme in a few months time. It was a delight to see the two groups of eager and enthusiast village children come together for two days, and mingle during exercises with voice, gestures and mime.
The Mohanam house with its lovely courtyard - which now that the major renovation and the work in the garden and grounds is accomplished has the potential in developing into a 'heritage centre' within the Auroville bioregion - was decorated with an exhibition of children's art work from the last big Art camp which was held here in November. And some of the villages' handicraft units displayed samples of their products to the visitors.
A well-known painter, Mr A.Vishvan from Coromandel Art Village (near Mahabalipuram) opened the exhibition, and everyone was proud to receive such a distinguished guest in a small local village. The artist gave an inspiring speech and shared his know-how and approach to art education with a demonstration in painting in a bright and dynamic colour-play.
Apart from all the kids' presentations and exercises, there were educational videos, a classical Karnatic concert, raga music, educational videos, presentations of classic and folk dance, and Meenakshi gave a talk on 'Reflections on Heritage'. Just at that time, there was a seminar in Auroville introducing the art of tribal artists from different places in India. Mohanam took the chance and invited them to help beautify the place. Kalyaniji from Rajasthan painted a Hanuman on the adjoining temple wall, and Dilip from Maharashtra did one of those well-known Warli paintings depicting village life; it became a beautiful mural.
It is hoped and wished by all that Mohanam will continue with its happy work and important contribution in furthering the cultural life in Auroville's neighbourhood and bioregion.
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