The Hindu Lit Fest 2024 | Interpreting lines of poem and rendering them through art

Participants at the ‘Verse to Canvas’ art workshop curated by Nivedha Leoni as a part of The Hindu Litfest in Chennai on Saturday.
| Photo Credit: Akhila Easwaran

Pencils, paints, crayons, charcoal and white paper — a familiar scene at any art workshop, but this one had an addition — an extract from a poem.

At The Hindu Lit Fest 2024’s Verse to Canvas workshop, held on Saturday, January 27, the participants read various extracts from poems given to them, and then attempted to translate what resonated from the poem with them into creative expressions on paper.

Facilitator of Chennai-based RainbowFish Studio, Nivedha Leoni, showed the participants similar work that had been done by students previously: interpreting the lines of the poem and rendering them through art via how they felt, and explained that different participants saw the poems through different eyes.

Focus on one element

“Keep the focus on one element that you want, that resonates with you,” she said. She also detailed different approaches to elements that participates could create: how to draw the focus of the viewer on to the main part of the work, how to create a secondary element, and the use of scale, perspective and various mediums, to doing this.

The facilitators also asked participants to think about how they were feeling, how they thought about their life, in relation to the poems they were reading, for this to come across through their art.

The exercise, the facilitators said, was inspired by some of the works of Indian and South African artists Shilpa Gupta and William Kentridge.

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