Artist Rob tells Asmita Sarkar about his world of wild imagination.
A dinosaur out of automobile parts or a spatula for painting with a playing card, materials can be used in multiple ways only if we let our imagination soar.
Harun Robert or Rob, who used to host the famous do-it-yourself TV show M.A.D on POGO, is bringing a live art show Imaginarium – It’s a Wonderful World that aims to teach children about the importance of going green and recycling everyday materials like bottles, packets and more for decorative or functional purposes.
A performer and art educator, he’s worked with children for years and understands what makes them tick.
“Children are interested in spending time outdoors and working with materials. So we wanted to create a space for them to watch and be part of it. This is a dream project of mine. I realised there are no live art shows where they can come and experience and be part of something as spectacular as we are planning,” he said.
He also sees himself as a non-preachy green warrior. “You have to treat kids like adults and every time you tell them that you have to recycle and pollution is a problem, they won’t listen to you because they are there to have fun. So, I only encourage them to recycle and use the materials lying around. If a child understands the value in recycling, they will get joy in creating something and will value materials and that they are contributing to a bigger change. My goal and mission is to focus on recycling materials,” he added.
But how does he make children listen to him? “There is no formula. Kids are the most challenging audience to please and also the most honest. They’ll appreciate an idea if you do something great and if it’s not well done, they don’t care how long you spent on it, they will let you know. I keep in mind that I don’t talk down to them. I try to teach in a fun way. I show them that I am a friend not an art teacher and am having fun creating things with trash, so you can have fun too. I don’t direct them to do stuff,” he said.
Robert is a trained artist who studied art, animation and filmmaking at National Institute of Design. But even before that, with his curious mind, he started picking up things to figure out what and how they are made. He spent hours wondering and converting discarded everyday materials to bring them to life. His most loved creation is a 20 feet dinosaur made with autorickshaw and scooter parts that was installed at NID, Ahmedabad. He is also proud of a mural with images of Mary Kom and Milkha Singh that he made on a flyover in Mumbai’s Andheri to promote the motto he teaches children, to recycle and reuse. The most popular one though is a painting of Amitabh Bachchan that he made on his show for POGO.
Sometimes, before he starts teaching, he would start with a magic trick to get their attention. “When we are kids, our imagination is more vivid and wide. The growth process according to laid down norms only restricts us. Children absorb and observe. If you break it down, it’s easier for them to follow through. Once, for the show, I broke down a really complicated method I learned in art school. And the children could easily follow it,” he said.
Many of his creations need as much science as art, both different points on a spectrum of creativity.
“Science and art go hand in hand. When we were learning the basics in art school, we would use science. You need art too to make science workshop models or drawings. If you are doing something in a fun way, you can do anything. We do a lot of projects around science, history and geography. I try and add visual elements to most of my stuff and work with basic material lying around the house, so it’s not a challenge for the child,” he said.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer