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Turmeric, beetroot, coffee, saffron, rice, blueberries, lentils. At first glance, these items seem as though they would be expected on a weekend shopping list. Instead, these natural ingredients have all been used in beautiful artworks created by preschool kids.
The kids’ artworks were exhibited at a virtual art exhibition organised by the Cuddlez Child Care & Long-care Centre in Quakers Hill, Sydney.
The paintings depicted familiar objects such as houses, flowers, animals, trees and personal experiences such as family trips. Some were influenced by current issues in Australia such as bushfires and COVID. Tanisha’s painting reminded its audience to ‘Keep Social Distancing’.
Little Aarav’s artwork was inspired by Indigenous artist Albert Namatjira. While Namatjira’s untitled work used watercolour to depict the vast Australian landscape, Aarav used sustainable materials such as sand, tree bark, and leaves.
Nandan Mukhraiya, supervisor at Cuddlez Child Care who initiated this program in 2016, said, “The idea of using natural material came from my grandmother, who used to do painting and create other artwork using all-natural materials.”
The children’s body of work not only exceed a display of artistic talent, but also provide the opportunity to learn. Mukhraiya aims to teach the children about the importance of sustainable practice while exploring their creativity. “The aim is to teach the spirit of innovation, to create something new and to look at nature with a deep insight,” she writes. “We need to encourage children to take care of the environment and show them how we all can play a vital role to save our earth and future.”
Natural materials such as onion and garlic peels, bark, dry leaves, lentils, and flowers, turned white canvas’ into beautiful artistic creations.
The children also made their own paint. The paint base was made using a combination of cornflour, natural glue, and warm water. Colour was added by introducing different spices and juices to the paint base. For example, to make red the children added saffron, for yellow they added turmeric powder, for pink they added beetroot powder, and for purple they used cherry juice.
Mukhraiya also hopes that by using readily available Indian ingredients such as spices and lentils, children will be able to connect their home life to their school life. It gives them the opportunity to see what materials they can find in their home and use them creatively, as well as allowing them another way to connect with their culture.
The kids’ art exhibition was recently displayed in the Blacktown Art Gallery as part of the Blacktown Council Artwork Program. Five-year-old Shauryya’s A Burnt Tree, three-year-old Diyan’s A Flower, and four-year-old Tanisha’s Keep Social Distancing, were all awarded best artwork prizes.
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