ECC x AAI: Kanad Chakrabarti

Presented in collaboration with Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center

Kanad Chakrabarti’s workshop began with a short lesson on flags found throughout the world including national symbols, diving flags, maritime signal flags, etc. In order to bring the flags to life, the artist created a short animation for the students of a flag blowing in the wind, which was shown on a monitor in the classroom, to initiate a conversation about the utility of flags.

Collectively, the class discussed the symbols found on flags, why particular colors are chosen, and various historical changes to a single country’s flags. Chakrabarti also shared photographs of select countries to establish a sort of correspondence between abstracted symbol (on the flag) and national identity (photo).

For the workshop, students then were encouraged to make their own flags out of colored paper and pen/crayon. The artist worked with the students to select colors, draw out symbols, and explore figure-ground color relationships.

ECC x Artists Alliance is a series of collaborative projects initiated by Artists Alliance Inc with Congregation Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center. Designed and led by guest artists, in collaboration with ECC educator Tom Pnini, students work in the classroom on pre-designed projects that both parallel the school’s current art curriculum and extend from the individual artist’s existing practice. Collectively, the projects urge students to experience art-making through unexpected visual relationships, using professional artists’ practices as a means to create engaging and interactive learning activities.

As accomplished by ECC’s impressive programming, ECC x Artists Alliance aims to amplify the school’s ongoing success in providing children with a generative and hands-on approach to education. This project series extends ECC’s mission by designing classes that create new opportunities for students to develop cognitive skills within the framework of peer collaboration, discovery, imaginative sharing and the revelation of hidden narratives. But, perhaps most importantly, the projects are intended to be playful.

Kanad Chakrabarti is an artist and writer based in London and New York. He uses the film-essay to interrogate the ambiguities inherent in technological capitalism, for instance, the ecological, post-colonial, and bio-political legacies of nuclear weapons testing. His goal in translating a time-based medium into physical or network spatiality is to force contradictory, disruptive or non-linear readings to emerge. Political concerns are reflected in a practice that resists market-based modes of production, preferring a nomadic, research-orientated, pedagogical approach.