Shree Mangal Dvip is a boarding school. Some kids have not seen their parents in years, as their villages are more than a week's trek from the nearest road, lying at altitudes that would make us gasp. The peeling buildings at the school are home, while fellow students and younger teachers become brothers and sisters. Many former students grow up only to return as teachers, as they just cannot bear to leave the arms of the school.
While most of my younger students are content to draw mountains, princesses and Justin Biebers, I wanted them to draw something that truly mattered to them— something that was a part of them. I hope they learn to find inspiration in the everyday, and begin to really look at the world around them.
After the rain one afternoon, we began to sketch the school.
As we scattered about the yard with papers and pencils, others wanted to join in or huddle around and watch. Most kids drew the dorms or the playground, while others drew their friends or some plants.
My favourite moment was when this little girl— who often appears at the window to the balcony where we have class, ready and willing to model for portraits— asked for a piece of paper and a pencil. Gripping both tightly in her hands, she climbed into the see-saw, and very seriously sketched the swing set. She was not originally in my art classes, but seems to have been listening to a thing or two while posing for the artists, and has been a part of the lessons since this sketch.