Art washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.

Pablo Picasso

K. Swaathi, our very own student from the senior group took the stage this afternoon as a Houseful artist. Our first Inhouse Houseful artist, Swaathi’s flair and passion for music have been carefully cultivated over the last two years that she has been at Snehadhara Foundation. Divya Sarangan, the facilitator who worked with Swaathi and trained her for this show, remarks on Swaathi’s meticulous approach to every song she is taught. From writing down the lyrics and carefully putting it down in her book to sharing the joy of a new song with people at home to including her group members in her learning in different ways, Swaathi makes every song her own, says Divya.

The performance saw Swaathi looking a bit nervous to some of us but very comfortable and relaxed to some others. There was no trace of a tremble in her voice however, when she naturally eased into her role as a performer for that short span of time. Surrounded by peers and the children, facilitators, some parents and special guests, her focus seemed to be on being true to the song. Archana Kumar, a dancer and external facilitator, also a Houseful artist from the past, commented on the ease with which Swaathi found her point of focus – the music and not the audience’s perception of her relationship with music.

The intent of Houseful has been to give our children an experience of the arts while also working with boundaries of self and the other, building an environment of soaking in various artistic practices and sitting together to enjoy the arts. Seeing Swaathi transition towards a space of experiencing the performance arena as an artist has been a learning for the facilitators too. The presence of the parents from the Jaaji group added richness and weight to the performance. Sayonika Sengupta, the facilitator working with the senior group commented on how the whole process of preparing for the Houseful event was beautiful because it drew the group together and created spaces for the members to understand their own roles and talents.

The co-participation of the Jaaji group members in the performance through clapping and singing along at planned moments also added zing to the whole show. The facilitators of the group remarked that the whole group was invested with the project and it felt like a collective endeavour in some ways. It was wonderful that what began as a learning experience for one of the group members turned out to be one for all the members.

Swaathi’s Houseful themed around “Peace” is the first of many steps that we hope many of our students will take towards owning their talents and finding their unique voices.