For the ABC programme schedule during Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, please scroll below to “ABC at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018”.

ABC (Art by Children) is an ongoing programme of the Kochi Biennale Foundation that runs research-driven art education interventions for children, art educators, teachers and the community at large to nurture the potential of the youngest members of society in order to develop their creative capacities. It aims to broaden public understanding and access to art and art education by working with communities that lack access to quality art education.

Through its previous editions, the ABC has been able to develop a discourse around thinking and creativity in children and the need to enhance thoughtful expressions in them via a conducive atmosphere within and outside spaces of learning.

While formulating the next steps of this programme and in response to the devastating floods that the state of Kerala faced this year, we have centered the idea of art education on the natural environment of the children and the role it plays in their learning process. With newer ecological dangers, it has become imperative to nurture the new generation as ecologically sensitive human beings. Children must become significant players in the discourse on rebuilding Kerala and rethinking the process of rebuilding Kerala. They can act as change agents that can repair the disconnect between the “nature deficiency” syndrome that our society has created over several years with the neoliberal destruction of life and natural forms, driven by capital. In this process of restructuring the learning paradigm, art plays a significant role.


Kochi Biennale Foundation introduces Art Room, an ongoing process of inculcating art practice among school children. Under this initiative, model Art Rooms will be established in schools in Kerala, starting from the regions most affected by the recent floods.

Art Room in schools is a concept to establish art practice as an integral part of the school curriculum.

  • A space set aside exclusively for art activities, which will be equipped with a variety of art materials
  • Art facilitators trained by KBF will enable one teacher from the school along with selected 25 children to become an Art Resource Team in each of these schools
  • Emphasis will be given to locally found natural materials that can be procured by children and adults from their own environment: soil of various shades, clay, leaves, flowers, twigs, barks of trees, waste materials (both natural and artificial)
  • Periodical art based workshops conducted in each school for the children and adults, supported by the Art Resource Team
  • It will be ideal to have one Art period for one class every week in this Room
  • The art room will be open to all so that the children can engage in making art in their free time

The Art Room is an idea to cultivate a non-violent, ecologically sensitive culture among children rooted in art and aesthetics.

Art is the basis of learning because in art-based activities, children engage intimately with a variety of materials, understanding them, working with their hands, learning different techniques, understanding the process of making, becoming resourceful, taking initiative and problem-solving. These are meaningful processes of making education inclusive, thus imparting irreplaceable values.

In order to make it a sustainable process, the schools or learning centers that we choose need to have one specific space as the Art Room. It should be a non-judgemental and non-threatening space where children have the freedom to spend time to create artworks without unnecessary interference.

Project Objectives

The proposed Art Rooms as a community learning place will be created based on the following foundational principles:

  • Art as the basis of experiential learning
  • Art as the basis of understanding Self and Other
  • Art as the basis of nurturing a humane society
  • Art as the basis of creating a secular society
  • Art as the basis of an integrated life: nurturing the concept of I am because we are
  • To assert and establish a child-centered learning practice, which has creative engagement and expression as the fundamental need and right of a child in his/her growth process. A child learns best by engaging and doing. Experiential Learning is the right of a child which is often denied in the technology-driven modern education system
  • In order to facilitate an environment conducive for this culture, schools need to accommodate spaces and practices that nurture creative engagement by children.
  • Non-commercial, natural practices of such engagements lay the foundation for a non-violent society. In the contemporary moment,  art and creative expression as introduced to children is often commercially motivated, and designed and programmed by adults. What is imagined in this project are nurturing, non-judgmental, and non-interfering spaces and practices for children, with teachers and other artists acting as only facilitators. It is a process of unlearning for participating adults as well.
  • To introduce children to a wide variety of indigenous visual cultures. We have rich craft traditions that are deeply integrated with the concept of co-existence with ecology. Connecting children with these traditions is a powerful way of taking roots in one’s own context.

Art Room Schools: NSHS Valoor (Chalakudi), Pre-Metric Hostel for Tribal boys Vettilapara (Chalakudi), GHS Mattanchery, EMHS Veli, GHS Panayappalli, St.Sebastian’s High School Gothuruth, and Standard Pottery High School Thaikatukara

Art Room Facilitators: Ajith Sreedharan, Pramod Gopalakrishnan, Jiji MV, Seema CR, Ayyappan PC


A model Art Room is set up at Cabral Yard, which acts as an activity and workshop space for visiting children and school groups as well as adults at the Biennale. This space will also be made available for community workshops involving adults and/or children, and conducted by artist-facilitators. A section of the space will be converted into a Children’s Gallery that will demonstrate works created by the children at the Art Room.

The Art Room at the Biennale, though a temporary space active only for the duration of the Biennale, will be built keeping all the design principles in mind. An extension of the Art Room will also be set up at Aspinwall House, which has a natural enclosed space covered by mango trees, which will be specially assigned to younger children for art making.

It aims to be a non-judgmental, non-competitive and fearless space where children, as well as adults, can retain or nurture child-like openness.

For more information, please contact Programme Manager, Blaise Joseph, [email protected].