Kolkata :As part of the UNICEF global campaign “Fair Start”, UNICEF Kolkata and Alliance Francaise organized a cultural event to mark the beginning of this initiative. The evening started with the formal inauguration of a painting exhibition by eminent painter, Mr. Jogen Choudhury.
The paintings which are part of this exhibition have been created by 10 talented children from three of our partner NGO organizations-Jabala, Sanlaap and City Level Programme of Action. Under the able guidance of two Vietnamese artists, Mr. Henri Nguyen and Mr. Lan Echo, they painted stories from their lives and the discrimination they face on account of their caste, gender and socio-economic status.
UNICEF and Alliance Francaise brought together these children and the artists to highlight the issues and concerns of inequities through creative mediums. A two day creative workshop was organized by them earlier this year in February.
Mr. Asadur Rahman, Chief, UNICEF Kolkata shared during the inauguration ceremony, “This initiative is part of the UNICEF Global Campaign, Fair Start. The Fair Start campaign highlights the fact that all children deserve the chance to be happy and healthy, explore their world safely, and reach their full potential. Yet the rights of millions of children are blocked by deprivation and discrimination based on factors beyond their control – their gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, place of birth or whether they live with a disability, for example.”
“The theme of the creative workshop was “Fight Unfair” and these young girls and boys drew these painting and depicted scenes of their daily lives, how gender discrimination affects their life at a very early age, at home and in school, in sports or in games. This initiative was but the first step of a more ambitious project and we hope to invite more local and international artists to interact with children to use art as a medium to document their life and the discrimination they face, and to help them to develop skills they could be able to use in their future.”
Following the inauguration of the painting exhibition, there was a dance festival. Kolkata Samved shared their experiences of using dance as therapy for children who have been victims of abuse and trafficking. The evening concluded with a French contemporary Dance Show.
“We need to celebrate arts and artists more and often. We should encourage children to express more creatively. Arts can go a long way for peace restoration around the world. We have seen in many instances, how art heals people, nurtures talents and bring individuals together. We will continue to support more such creative initiatives and hope to bring together more children, artists, associates, thinkers and start a bigger discourse on children’s issues in the state of West Bengal,” shares Mr. Rahman.