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Kalakriti—Revels’20

Satrangi | Arnaav Anand

The corridor of MIT’s Chemical Engineering Department was bustling as multiple teams competed in Kalakriti’s intense rangoli making competition, Satrangi. Held on the third day of Revels ’20, the event saw eight teams, comprising two members each seated apart in contention to make the most attractive rangoli on the topic ‘Wildlife’ all in under an hour.

Armed with an array of seven colours that were provided by logistics, the teams set out to curate their artworks. Teamwork was vital for the success of the rangolis—teammates brainstormed ideas and divided their tasks swiftly to ensure the success of their work within the given time frame. The criterion for evaluation was based on how the teams worked together to bring out a clear interpretation of their art while highlighting the theme besides their usage of the colours provided.

The participants moved their hands in a graceful manner with every meticulous stroke, tracing out beautiful patterns that resembled wildlife.  “This event was really good, and the topic was interesting too. Kalakriti’s support was great as it always has been. I have participated in many such events every year in Revels”, remarked Megha Trao, an M. Tech student.

After the stipulated time came to an end, the teams were asked to vacate the premises as the judge was called in to observe and evaluate the resultant designs. Some of the rangolis were unfortunately incomplete in the end, leaving a hint of disappointment in the judge’s otherwise spellbound expression. “It was a good attempt for students to explore creativity while reviving a traditional art form and to showcase their artistic skills. I can only suggest that they make the patterns more meaningful and abstract instead of just mimicking nature”, responded Joicy KJ, the judge of the event and an architecture professor. She, however, left with a cheerful outlook having seen the wonderful artworks on display by the various teams.

Fantasy faces | Shrijani Manna

The Innovation Centre’s staircase brightened with flamboyant smiles as teams of two competed in Kalakriti’s face-painting event, Fantasy Faces. Held on the second day of revels, the event stayed true to it name offering participants an opportunity to streamline their imagination on an unconventional canvas—their partner’s face.

The most aesthetic representation of a theme, from a choice of three, awarded the corresponding team with the winner’s title. The three themes were a little unusual—face painters could choose between an oath to Qing Han, a Canadian artist who rose to fame as an illustrator or Revolution and Peace as inspirations for their art. The participants were provided with paints and other equipment needed. Over the course of the next hour, the teams juggled around with different colours and ideas to vividly portray their interpretation of the theme.

While one participant hurriedly brushed paint-strokes on their partner, the other had to sit still for the entirety of the duration. From doves gliding across a starry night to a skull sketched on someone’s epidermis, a gradient of creativity shone on everyone’s faces. “I had fun. A lot of work went into it. My favourite part was getting the themes. At the end of the day, people don’t usually give up their faces for other people to paint,” remarked Ayesha Siddiqui, the event head.

Delegating people free of any reins on their creativity, this event provided the channel to let loose and have fun amidst a hectic semester while enrapturing the minds of all present.

Collage | Aditya Narayan

Collage, held on the second day of Revels’20, was Kalakriti’s collage-making event. Designed to test the creativity and thinking of participants, the theme ‘Culture’ had contestants design their creations with newspaper cuttings. “A theme as broad as culture allows the participants to express themselves however they like. They would actually have to put thought into what they make because there are just so many possibilities. Since art is open to interpretation, we wanted to see the participant’s take on a vague theme. The vagueness also allows for maximum leverage in terms of content”, commented Madhushree, an organiser of the event.

Enthusiasts had to come up with their designs in under an hour and only use the materials provided. The usage of phones was prohibited. Teams consisted of two members and with the rules laid out, the contestants got to work. Most participants had a slow start, baffled by the theme and the sheer number of possibilities that they could take with their pieces. However, participants let their creative juices flow. For instance, first-year student Harsh Mehta had the idea of linking culture with colour. “Some things are deeply linked with colour. Not just spiritual colours such as saffron or green, but things like cricket—blue, as well. We plan on arranging such colours to create a mosaic, showing that all these things can co-exist, and harmoniously so”, remarked Mehta.

While teams worked persistently to bring their ideas onto their sheets, a few groups spent a lot of time pinning their ideas down. The ticking clock caused quite a few teams to rush with their work while others made it to the finish line on time. Overall, the event was well organised and had the participants engaged throughout.

Relay art Shrijani Manna

An interesting deviation from traditional relay races, Relay Art by Kalakriti tested the participants’ artistic flair and team coordination skills. Held on the first day of Revels ‘20, the event saw teams of two fighting tooth and nail with time—their biggest competitor—in order to complete their paintings.

An image of a Venetian scenery was displayed on the screen for ten minutes—the allotted time for participants to memorise as much detail as they could before being allowed to sketch from memory. Within the next sixty minutes, participants alternated every fifteen minutes to lay down strokes of pencil and paint on their sheet of paper. While one participant was working, their partner could verbally assist them, but had to refrain from physically involving themselves until their turn arrived. Halfway through the competition, the image was produced on the screen for another two minutes before being taken down again. The art supplies were provided by the organisers and the students were prohibited from using their own.

The biggest challenge here was to select a picture for the participants which was neither too difficult nor too easy. The main thing here is how well the participants memorise and not just how everything is placed in the picture but also the colours, the exact shades, whichever gets closest to the original will win,” commented Akansha, a third-year organiser when asked about the criteria of evaluation.

As the hour came to an end, only one team managed to successfully complete the entire artwork. With each painting bearing its own identity, the assimilation of all the exquisite handwork exhibited by the students was the real masterpiece of this event.

Splash | Parthiv Menon

 Splash, the first of its kind under Kalakriti, surprised participants with a hand painting challenge, giving the event an unusual twist, setting it apart from other painting competitions held during the festival. Participants had to imprint their ideas on a piece of cloth after being revealed a theme given to them at the beginning of the competition.

Participants were provided with acrylic paints and a square piece of cloth among other materials to aid them with their work. Contestants were challenged to come up with a piece on the theme—Outer Space—in the given time frame of an hour. From a solar system to starry constellations and geometrically appealing patterns in space, competitors showed great enthusiasm in creating artworks that stuck to the theme while appealing the judges. “As someone who is new to painting, this event was a fun experience for me. I got to paint with my hands and even though it might not be the best of pictures, I got a chance to try something new on the last day of Revels”, remarked Aditya Jain, a participant at the event.

Despite the event being conducted for the first time, it witnessed a good turnout with around fifteen people participating in it. Staying true to its name, the event enthralled participants by putting them on the spot with bottles of paint. It helped showcased the artistic abilities of the contestants and their knack to creatively express themselves as plain pieces of cloth was turned into colourful pictures. Overall, it was a well-appreciated event and enjoyed by all those that took part in it.

Comixstrip | Janmejay

Held during Revels’20, the one of a kind comic drawing event, Comixstrip was a unique look into the world of creating comics, and the work that goes into the building the fantastic worlds we read about. The event aimed at highlighting the technical aspects of creating engaging, yet entertaining comics, that are meant for everyone to enjoy.

Comics designed had to follow the theme ‘Stuck in a Cubicle’ and participants were tasked with drawing comics that had a minimum of four panels. The eight participants that took part designed comics that were monochrome in nature and made completely with black sketch pens. As seen in most comics, the panels were far from devoid of humour. Participants were passionate and the event gave comic enthusiasts an outlet to express themselves.

The event lived up to its expectations while garnering talent in the art world. It was well-organised and helped bring out a different style of art. It, thus, will continue to make its presence felt in the upcoming festivals.

Play with Clay | Abhishek Sinha

Play with Clay saw deep-buried classical antiquity unearthed as participants added a twist of creativity to malleable clay. The event challenged creators to brush up their memory on the history of the past while moulding an illustration of antecedent reality. “Events of this kind, that have no constraint comparison or back-to-back questioning provide a healthy environment for skill redemption”, responded Samhita Nulu, the event head.

Drawing inspiration from events that sought utmost importance, inventions that brought in a dramatic change to the wheel of time or had an irrefutable role in shaping the present was a popular choice. With ideas ranging from cult images to colossal art, ancient monuments to controversial dilemmas, artists took excessive liberty of providing an abstract touch to the otherwise frozen history. Yet it was humorously created twists to the past, be it a T-rex pulled cart or a two-dimensional brachiosaurus that stole the spotlight. “I enjoyed the broad theme and relaxing nature of the competition. However, I was a little fearful by the time constraint”, remarked Chahat Vasan, a participant.

With options stretching from the nomadic era to nuclear epochs, a multitude of participants gathered to shape their exclusive perception of how they see the past. Much to the sculptor’s delight, the event proved to be a great escape from the reality of classes and was enjoyed by all.

Achromae | Trisha Anil

A painting contest designed to expose individuals to a different form of art, Achromae was a competitive gathering of some of the more advanced painters of Revels’20. A charcoal painting event, the competition saw a sizable crowd imprinting their ideas based on the theme ‘Anxiety’ while battling a ticking clock.

A group of about ten participants sketched their ideas with the materials provided. Contestants were not allowed to use their own materials and had to stick to a time limit of an hour. Despite the challenging theme, artists increased the difficulty level of the competition by submitting high-quality designs. “The participants showed that all the world’s colours can be represented with just two—black and white—and all the other colours lie just in between them”, responded Akansha Priyadarshi the category head of Kalakriti.

The well-organised event aimed at providing enthusiasts with a platform to showcase their skills in a unique art form. While the competition set a high bar with its abstract theme, it had commendable participation and was enjoyed by all.

With inputs from Akansha Priyadarshi.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography of Revels’20, Organisers and Participants of Kalakriti

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