To allow children to imagine and write their own stories on the thematic of peace, harmony, sustainability, diversity, humanity and many other universal human values, that are also the fundamental values of the Swiss people, the Embassy of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, together with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, launched a series of art workshops on 11 September for Bhutanese children aged 8 to 12 years.
The workshop was on “Let me tell the story”. Ambassador of Switzerland to India and Bhutan, Dr Ralf Heckner said through an email that during the prolonged pandemic, the Embassy of Switzerland to India and Bhutan and Swiss Arts Council wanted to offer something new, exciting and creative to the children.
“We wanted to offer the children a world, where they could give expression through word and form to their imagination of how their world looks. Hence the Embassy and the Swiss Arts Council invited ThinkArts Foundation to conceptualize these unique story-telling and story writing workshops. Ninety children in the age group of 8 to 12 attended the workshops conducted virtually by ThinkArts,” added Dr Ralf Heckner.
In adding, Ambassador also added that the same children will now learn the art of story-telling through illustrations with the Swiss illustrator Francesca Sanna. Francesca Sanna will help them visualize a sketch / painting to go along with the story that these children wrote during the earlier workshops. “Needless to say, we all are waiting to read these delightful stories coming from young minds.”
Switzerland has been committed to world peace and harmony. Ambassador Dr Dr Ralf Heckner said “We strongly believe in promoting dialogue between cultures and people. We also lead many initiatives to ascertain sustainability, security and humanitarian aid in many countries. The objectives of these workshops were to allow children to reflect on the thematic of peace, harmony, sustainability, diversity, humanity, etc., train them to write a story of their imagination on these topics, and allow them to discover this skill for themselves. Our children are our future, and we are strongly committed to offer children their right to imagination, free expression, especially in times of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, the winners will received prizes. “We have many interesting prizes from Switzerland for the winners. We are also committed to gift each participating child something to take back from Switzerland. Besides this, the most interesting part is that some of the stories will be illustrated by Swiss illustrator Francesca Sanna, some by select illustrators from Bhutan and some also by the children,” added the Ambassador.
In adding, Ambassador said that Francesca Sanna is also going to lead an interaction and workshop “Stories connect People”, with illustrators from Bhutan, giving them an insight on how to illustrate stories particularly for children. At the end of the process, we will be publishing many of these illustrated children’s stories virtually.
While the Embassy looks forward to continue offering interesting cultural activities and programs for their friends in Bhutan, “Continuing on the principle of “people to people connect” which we began with the friendship bus travelling across Bhutan with the most famous children’s film “Heidi” from Switzerland.”
“In these unprecedented times, where it has been impossible for many of us to travel or be together, the arts continue to offer inspiring, innovative and different ways to keep people across the globe connected. We feel it is important to keep engaging in people-to-people and cultural exchanges and offer a platform to artists to share their work with you, the audience,” said the Ambassador.