Govt school teacher from Puducherry moves many students close to the fascinating world of art and craft

Teaching to create amazing toys and artefacts from discarded items like hay, straw, dried leaves, roots, branches, vegetable waste, bamboo, and coconut husks, V Umapathy, a 42-year-old government school teacher has been making a difference in the lives of students over the past 13 years at Kavinyar Aru Vanisassan Government High School in Seliamedu.

When a teacher doubles up the classroom setting for the studio and dares to explore an art form, newly tapped creative impulses often lead to nourishing the interests of students.

In rural Puducherry, an art teacher specialising in the creation of models and crafts from natural waste items has been training and mentoring his students to spread awareness among villagers on sustainable livelihood, biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Consequently he has brought a change in art education as many students and even villagers have embraced the world of innovative craft, many even making it their profession.

Umapathy has trained around 60 youth in Villupuram and Salem, of which 10 have started their own small-scale units. He had also been invited by the government of Seychelles to teach the unique art to their students and teachers. According to  Umapathy, “From literature to science to history, students make models or crafts of every aspect that they like.”

“Several of them have developed a great interest in art education, I’m only giving wings to their imagination,” he adds.

He has taught to create models of human beings, birds, and animals, cartoon characters and various science projects. The students are so excited that they visit the teacher even during weekends and holidays to engage themselves in craft-making. More than 300 such crafts are displayed on the school walls.

As his work is getting recognised in recent years through posts on social media , it has drawn many tourists to visit the school to have a look at the distinctive works.Supporting the initiative, Director of Education PT Rudra Goud has displayed the models with Umapathy and the students’ names at his office.

One such student, Tamilselvan, completed his graduation in Arts (BFA) and has followed the path of his master to become an Art Teacher in Indian Public School, Erode, while another student Murugaiyan is pursuing his BFA final year.
It’s hard for students from humble to afford materials and equipment to create artworks, and fell short in competitions, so he turned to natural products to provide them with an opportunity for alternate art through products that are easily accessible at no cost.

Recently Umapathy and his students have conducted a workshop in Lakshadweep in which around 200 students and teachers got training, Rudra Goud pointed out. Recently, at a residential workshop organised by the Sri Aurobindo Society in Puducherry, Umapathy and the students gave a demonstration to the teachers of Army Public schools.

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