We spent a few hours at the National Gallery of Modern Art yesterday. I've heard good things about it and been wanting to go for a few weeks, and then we realized that the Anish Kapoor exhibition was about to end this weekend. We couldn't miss an exhibition of an artist of his stature, so off we went - the four of us and Sanjay's cousin who was spending the day with us. I want to expose Ads to a lot of art and make him understand a few things. One, there is no "one" or "right" kind of art. Any expression of an individuals' thoughts or emotions is a legitimate work of artistry. Two, the exercise of just soaking in the beautiful expression of someone's creativity and making our own interpretation of it's meaning is pleasurable in itself. Three, we need to be alive to the beauty that is all around us, be it in the stunning flowers at the Mughal Gardens (where we went last weekend) or in the asymmetrical shapes and disorienting forms of modern sculpture.
I'm beginning to be cognizant of the fact that a major part of a parent's nurturing role is to nourish the mind and spirit just as much as to nourish the body. Maybe even more. Exposing a child to new experiences and perspectives that broaden and challenge his thinking - isn't that a critical part of what we should be doing? Ads was gratifyingly compliant with our attempts to make sense of Anish Kapoor. He would go up to each model or sculpture and ask me "What do you think this is, amma?". I would flip the question back at him and he would say something - very prosaic but that's not the point. The point is that I think he dimly understood that space and form had been manipulated to create new definitions of space and form, and he may or may not like it but its there and it's intriguing, ambiguous and somewhat surreal.
After this introduction to modern art, we slipped over to the cafeteria for a quick pick-me-up (juice) for the kids and then proceeded to the main wing of the NGMA. Which was HUGE. S and I really need to go back again to do justice to the lovely works they had up on the wall. Ads liked Jamini Roy, mostly because he had a few Krishna paintings up there :) There was a stunning one of Arjuna and Krishna by Nandalal Bose. The main wing was 4 levels and a lot of walking and we got the executive summary only! Y was walking around like an art pro, holding (and occasionally reading), the NGMA brochure which she was holding in her hand :)
It was a lovely afternoon. I'm enjoying more than anything else, this attempt to open up Ads' mind to new fresh things. It may or may not have any impact; he's too young and there are going to be other major influences in his life. But I'm doing my job and this is one aspect of parenting I'm really enjoying.
Next stop - an intro to all the major religions. That's going to be a big project!