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What You Can with Cans: Magic of Artwork from Scrap

Kochi: As an artist with a penchant for travel, Veronique Fillet heard about Kochi-Muziris Biennale and decided to fly to India from her native France. On reaching this coastal city hosting the subcontinent’s biggest contemporary art festival, the 66-year-old European gave children insight into aesthetics bearing a social message.

‘What you can with cans?’. That was how she titled her interactive session with young students and adults. The weekend workshop conducted at the festival’s Cabral Yard venue saw the veteran giving children tips on her innovative techniques.

Before curious onlookers and trainees at the art room that was opened six weeks ago under the foundation’s ABC (Art by Children) programme, she demonstrated ways on how stuff dumped as waste are actually useful and suitable to do artwork.

As a street performer for past 15 years, Veronique’s main work has been making hats from materials that can be recycled. She uses multicolored materials, recovered from anywhere in the world, and stuffs into bags she carries. They include even metal cans that sell soft drinks, it was clear from the biennale workshop.

At the sylvan Cabral Yard on Saturday, Veronique settled down comfortably and gave a brief talk to the children. Then, deftly taking out ‘treasures’, especially metal cans that serve soft drinks, the artist began to make earrings and showpieces. In no time, she conjured the objects that looked charming for those at the workshop.

Veronique lauded the biennale for promoting art and promoting intercontinental cultures. “It brings a world of thoughts and ideas in front of you,” she said. “I am not making ornaments for sales. I thought of conducting this workshop to get into closer interaction with people. All the same, it can help its makers earn money and be a therapeutic engagement for stressed souls.”

An author of several creative books, Veronique said children and adults alike should benefit out of such guidance involving working together and practising art.

ABC head Blaise Joseph introduced the children to the artist at the start of the session. Earlier, on January 22, Veronique had held a brief session at the art room. The ABC has been running alongside the ongoing fourth edition of the biennale being organised by the KBF for 108 days from December 12.

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