SHIKSHAMITRA is a process for learning to live better. It is a space where one

learns to keep well and to help others keep well too. Shikshamitra has an address.

However, it goes beyond this – permeating into the lives of many, influencing

one’s choices in life and ways of life. To be associated with Shikshamitra is to assume

the responsibility of trying to live better. It is a continuous attempt to search for

activities that inspire life and build trust, or, it is an attempt to keep away from

anything to the contrary. Shikshamitra is a means toward becoming aware of

how much one can be and knowing exactly what one’s limitations are.

September 07, 2010


During the Growing with Art Exhibition at Shikshamitra, our student was interviewed by a local English newspaper. He enjoyed this experience to talk about his ideas very much.

Here is the link to the piece:

And the text:
Art out of nothing at all

RECYCLE ARTIST: Noor Islam, 16, at the exhibition in Chetla. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
For Noor Islam nothing in the world is worth throwing away, especially when it can be turned into something pretty.

The 16-year-old recycle artist was the showcase of an art exhibition organised by Shikshamitra, an open learning centre in Chetla, over the weekend.

Noor was born in Delhi but moved to the Kalabagan slum of Chetla in Calcutta when he was seven years old. The son of Abdul Khalique, a driver, and the youngest of four siblings, Noor was a good student who dabbled in drawing. But it was only when he joined Shikshamitra after Class IV that he found his path.

“I was afraid to use paint till I came here; now I don’t shy away from colour. I have in fact moved on from painting just on paper,” said the Class X boy.

The love of painting could not keep Noor in school for long as he had to head off to a whistle-making factory to supplement his family income.

He was gone from Shikshamitra for a year after which he came back a changed teenager. “He was disruptive and aggressive and his grades were slipping. He even stopped painting for a while. But I have seen this boy turn his life around with his own hands,” said Sudeshna Sinha, the school principal.

Since then this Michael Jackson fan — yes, he can do the Moonwalk — has devoted himself to learning English and making art, often out of nothing at all.

Noor’s neighbours bring him things they are ready to discard and urge him to “make something”. His dedication to recycling has even seen the broken wall clock in his house being transformed into a wall hanging using a collage from magazines.

The display at the Growing with Art included painting on speaker covers, a paperweight made from wood whittle, a decorative item from the frame of a bouquet, a boot from rolled newspapers....

“It is more satisfying when I am able to innovate. In fact, sometimes I wake up with some idea in my head and I have to work it out immediately or at least make an outline so that I remember,” said Noor, who hopes to join an art school once he finishes school.

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