KC High Grade 7 students interact with Artist Olaf Van Cleef and Historian Pradeep Chakravarthy

KC High Grade 7 students at Amethyst with Artist Olaf Van Cleef and Historian Pradeep Chakravarthy - 6

Interaction with Mr. Olaf Van Cleef and Mr. Pradeep Chakravarthy at Amethyst, 27th November 2017

Students from Grade 7 got an opportunity to interact with artist, Olaf Van Cleef, on his visit to Chennai. He is here to exhibit his paintings on Indian Gods and Goddess. This interaction was planned to meet the following objectives:

  • To identify and explore the influences on the artist’s style and subject depicted in his body of work
  • To understand and appreciate the nuances and finer details seen in the paintings,
  • To explore the historical context behind the paintings

The session started with Mr.Pradeep Chakravarthy sharing a story about Goddess Saraswathi that incorporated the goddess’ life, role and appeal, from a mighty river to a part of the holy trinity of goddess.

Next to give the audience a better understanding of how he came about to draw inspiration from Indian Gods and Goddess, Mr. Olaf shared snippets from his journey to the tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar and Golconda Fort. He shared details about the picture he saw that of Bahdur Shah Zafar completely covered in jewels; the crown was made with the Golconda Diamonds and feathers. This gave him the inspiration to use the subjects in his paintings.

Learners were encouraged to look at the paintings closely and identify the medium used, think about the meaning the images convey and also think of an apt title for each of the paintings going by their interpretation of it. They also were given a detailed explanation by the artist about the extensive use of gold foil (sourced from chocolate wrappers), Swarovski crystals and Zirconium in the paintings.

The session saw students ask some pertinent questions to the artist :

  1. What are your thoughts on Indian Art, going by the fact that the subjects of the paintings are Indian Gods and Goddesses?
  2. Did you intend to use symbolism in your paintings?

Post the interaction learners were asked to reflect on the following:

  1. The varied influences an artist’s work may have.
  2. One lesson they learnt from the interaction from an artist’s perspective.
  3. How successful the artist has been in drawing inspiration from India while staying true to his own style and roots?
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