Announcing the setting up of the Pune365 Young Artists’ Showcase. Every week, Monday through Friday, Pune’s best known art teachers – Minoo and Sheil Sadwelkar – will select and present the work from what is received from Pune365 readers. As Mentors of the showcase, and in order to inspire talent, they will also present awardwinning work done by child artists belonging to the VCW Academy. Send in your entries at firstname.lastname@example.org
Art is a true form of self-expression. Minoo and Sheil Sadwelkar are not just firm believers but practice this ideology as well. Sheil, the son of renowned artist couple Baburao and Vijoo Sadwelkar, along with his wife Minoo started the VCW Academy of Fine Arts. Carrying on the legacy of the art class which in Mumbai had housed stalwarts such as M F Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Pandit Ravi Shankar, S H Raza, V S Gaitonde, H A Gade, Dayaram Chavda, K H Ara, Sadanand Bakre and many more. Sheil is a topper alumnus from the JJ School of Arts and Mumbai University and Minoo comes with a Master of Arts from the illustrious and rich town of Kolhapur. They recreated the academy in Pune in 1999.
“Don’t advertise and the word will spread and we can build a solid entity,” is what Sheil, who himself hails from an advertising background practices. And this the artist couple managed to do, starting an art class in a 1BHK rented apartment with 20-odd students which later branched out into an Academy. Silent but observant, Minoo goes on to tell us about how schools expect their students to rote learn which is curbing their imagination, “We want children to express themselves and think freely. That is why our curriculum is based on the child as opposed to en masse.” Sheil further emphasises on this: “Art is a discipline and not just a hobby.” They believe that children should be taught the technicalities of painting and drawing but should be given the liberty to do so.
Being an artist and taking it up professionally was mostly frowned upon or not seen as a viable occupation, but this is slowly changing, “I can see the awareness amongst parents increasing, byatleast10 to 15 percent. Earlier engineering and medicine were the only options but mushrooming design schools are helping to broaden people’s perspectives as well,” adds Sheil. Children seem to be lost in the world of art same as a child who wants to pursue medicine, with the number of options now open in this field.
Sheil Sadwelkar has been training and holding programmes such as Pre College Internship Programme (PCIP) to help students understand their varied career opportunities and shelve any of their misconceptions for years now. Their love for art is prevalent in the hard work Minoo and Sheil put in to encourage it, “I first speak to the family, I believe in involving the family as at some point the child will need their support for which they too need to understand what art is,” explains Sheil. Minoo, who teaches art to almost 150 students and is referred to as a second mother by them, believes that. “Art is a great reflection of one’s personality and a lot of experiences children go through which parents may not understand or know of can be gauged through paintings.”
A common life anecdote that Sheil has to offer to parents is that, ““At one point you wanted to scribble on your wall, now give your child that freedom.”