Book review: Eye Spy Indian Art is an engaging hands-on visual experience

Book review: Eye Spy Indian Art is an engaging hands-on visual experience

I spy

With my little eye

A set of quirky eyes staring back at me

From a bright tomato red book cover

These eyes belong to the popular 19th century Kalighat Patachitra (folk paintings of local myths), titled the ‘Cat with Lobster’. And the book is ‘Eye Spy Indian Art’, based on the widely known children’s (and adults’) game: Eye Spy or I Spy.

Eye Spy Indian Art delivers on its promise to be a hands-on visual experience right from its cover. As you turn the pages, tear along dotted lines to uncover secrets, and paste the right combo to unveil each chapter, you and your child are taken on an educational and entertaining ride through modern Indian art history.

There’s plenty to discover within the book. You learn about prominent artists such as Nandalal Bose, M. F. Hussain, Badri Narayan, Tyeb Mehta, and their influences and inspirations through die cuts, flaps and foldouts strewn amply throughout the book.

Image Source: Ishan Khosla Design
Image Source: Ishan Khosla Design

The book also helps to kindle the artistic flair in your child’s personality through the activities of illustrating, tracing, cutting or creatively writing dialogue. Plus, it sets out projects that require a deep level of engagement, prompting conceptual thinking, research and creative expression.

The book’s authors, Ritu Khoda and Vanita Pai, are art educators themselves, whose idea for this book came about during one of their workshops at the DAG Modern’s exhibition. They asked children at the workshop to match cut-outs of paintings to those in the gallery, and then write down information about the paintings. The activity was a massive success, and it was upon realizing how well children responded to learning in the Eye Spy game format, that Khoda and Pai got together with illustrator, Ishan Khosla to create the book.

Eye Spy truly seems to be the first innovative experiment in print about art in India and is itself a work of art that challenges, educates and entertains children and parents alike. So arm yourself with a pair of kid-friendly scissors and a pencil or two, and dive in into the world of modern art, the Indian kind.

Written by Ankitaa Gohain Dalmia

Featured image source: Ishan Khosla Design


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