“Why can’t birds be green and the grass be pink?” Mariona Cabassa

June 23, 2023by Kids Eureka0

Marionna Cabassa is an artist from Catalonia, Spain. A student of art in Barcelona and research in Strasbourg she has illustrated over 80 children’s books. She has worked as an illustrator, painter, installation-maker and tattoo artist. She thinks colour, but she also questions, why can’t birds be green and the grass be pink?

In India because she was speaking at Bookaroo Children’s Literature Festival in Baroda and Delhi, Mariona participated in Bookaroo in the City, the outreach programme of Bookaroo. Eighty wide-eyed children, their teachers and mentors at MCD Primary School Lajpat Nagar 3, New Delhi, watched as Marionna transformed the drawing of a bird with yellow tail, blue head, red body and purple wings. Without using any pencil, it was just colours that came to life.

Imagination is linked to a child’s creative development. So Marionna gave them the freedom to explore – to draw any animal of their choice without using a pencil but instead using water colour and crayons. But most importantly, the animals could be of any colour. The 10-year-olds looked puzzled at first. But when the paints, crayons and papers were distributed, every single child poured its heart out in the drawings.

A rainbow giraffe, blue swans, yellow dotted dog, yellow rangoli designed fish, blue birds with red wings, red polka dotted white cat and many such wonderful creations. Marionna’s session showed us that freeing a child’s mind helps them to explore whole new things, however unreal or messy it may be. But the creativity will be theirs and they will probably be able to discover more with excitement and enrich their little minds to discover the world with new colours.

“Mariona encouraged the children to break free of the traditional way of approaching an art work. She gave them the freedom to try a different, bolder approach. Children were shy and hesitant at first, but then many of them boldly made their animal shapes without using a pencil, filled the whole page and made their animals all colours of the rainbow! I feel that if we can introduce this kind of creative freedom for children in their art classes it can have an impact on their confidence in other areas as well,” says Urmila Chowdhury, education director, Peepul, a non-profit educational organisation that has pioneered the turnaround of three ailing schools into visual exemplars, in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).