Ilford artist’s bid to raise £5,000 to teach girls art in India
PUBLISHED: 17:30 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 07:15 08 March 2018
An Ilford artist is trying to raise £5,000 to teach young girls sculpture and art in an Indian village.
Blandine Martin, 47, started her project, ‘Trees of India’ in 2014 after hearing about Piplantri in Rajasthan - where 111 trees are planted to celebrate the birth of every girl in the village.
In tribute to this she is planning to create 111 sculptures of trees from recycled timber, plastics and textiles and take them over to India where she will teach other young girls how they could do the same.
The art and DT technician told the Recorder that girls in India can often be regarded as a financial burden, particularly with poor families, but that this has been turned on its head by the Piplantri people.
The initiative was launched in 2014 by resdient Shyam Paliwal, who after the loss of his daughter decided to commit his life to helping every other girl in his village.
Shyam and his team visit families expecting girls and gives the family a contract to sign to protect the girl in her later life.
The agreement means that their children will receive an education, must not be married off before turning 18 and also look after the trees to celebrate women.
The contract also offers financial help when the girl turns 18 to put towards higher education or a wedding.
Blandine decided three years ago to recreate the 111 trees and so far has created 64 of them.
She has been in touch with Manoj Paliwal - the nephew of Shyam, who started the project - and next August, Blandine is hoping to travel to India along with a team of creatives to visit the centre and teach the girls artistic skills.
The artist who was born in Aix-en-Provence in France is hoping that the girls at the centre can create the final tree for the project, and to donate some of her sculptures to the village.
She told the Recorder: “It is a truly inspiring project, I just want to do what I can to spread the word about it.”
To donate to Blandine’s project visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/treesofindia