Reena Kallat, Visas To Happiness, Children’s Programme, 2013. Courtesy of the artist, the Dhaka Art Summit and the Samdani Art Foundation.
This children’s workshop conceptualised by Mumbai-based artist Reena Saini-Kallat is primarily an instrument to spark dialogue and raise questions related to the notion of happiness and how we view the world.
There is increasing political interest in using measures of happiness as a national indicator in conjunction with measures of wealth, and findings suggest that smaller countries tend to be a little happier because there is a stronger sense of collectivism. However, Bangladesh has recently slipped behind in its rankings on happiness.
This workshop is the third in the series of short courses that were previously held in Chennai and Mumbai and involve specially produced mock-passports and arrival cards. The passports can be filled-in by children who bring their own understanding to the project from their personal and cultural values.
As part of the project, Kallat, along with the children, will paint two ambitious murals with a large number of birds collectively forming a text in both English and Bengali, reflecting ideas about movement, flight and freedom. The text reads, “Happiness is not a station you arrive at but a manner of travelling.”