5th May 2008
Coca-cola bottle caps, shoelaces, empty cigarette boxes, gutka packets, match-sticks, straw, pebbles, can become a car, a plane, a dinosaur, the sun, a multitude of objects/toys. Initiated in collaboration with Tulsi Ram, the project finds its premise in this need for play and invention.
I have noticed children in the neighborhood make fantastic toys from waste material, cardboard strips with coke caps as wheels, gutka packets beaten together into a fan, …so we thought of providing simple red clay to them to make their own toys. For two months, every evening we met at the Khirki village park and made clay toys. These were baked once every two weeks and given back to the children.
It was integral to the project to be located centrally, accessible to everyone. This time we chose to extend the geography of our project a little and moved to Khirki Village. My relationship with the village has mostly been with the retired elderly gentlemen who have ample time and ample stories. They gather in the evenings to play cards under a tree at the extreme end of the local village park. They were all open to the idea of letting us use the park for our project. One even offered to let us use his terrace to dry the clay toys, one offered the pump house to store our equipment, one allowed us to use water from his house.
We baked many little clay huts, snowmen, cars, mobile phones, dinosaurs, dogs, birds, supermen, fruit baskets, flowers, snakes, chulhas (clay oven) and all kinds of food. The timing of the workshop couldn’t have been better as many children/ participants were in Delhi visiting their uncles/ grandparents for the summer break.
Toys were baked, broken, stolen, snatched, taken home, and exchanged. We managed to document the objects and each is a reference to a special memory/ dream/story; … but the energy and the enthusiasm of sweating it out under the neem tree, making armies of toys, is a hard thing to document.
16th may 2008Aastha Chauhan