Learning Through Indian Art

Learning language through art

By Aruna Hatti, Gnaana.com

Yo-Yo Ma wrote an amazing article last year on the importance of STEAM (and not just STEM) – which inspired me to link Indian art into our home education.  So once a week or so, I pull up an image of an artwork on the iPad (at the dinner table or after our evening reading time), and I give the kids a brief introduction to the artist/region/style of art. Then we start talking…

Sometimes we talk about what’s happening in the painting – be it a mythological scene or a folk theme. Other times we end up exploring the region from where the art originated (Bengal, Bihar, etc.) or a cultural or historical motif (e.g. the type of jewelry a woman is wearing, or why they had to use chariots back in the day). And I always tie-in language learning: reviewing our Telugu colour words, or forming simple sentences related to the art, etc.

Learning language through art


Indian art is rich and complex – and I am in no way qualified to authoritatively teach about it – but I think it’s important for my kids to be exposed to these visuals. Besides, art is a perfect interdisciplinary learning aid.

Thank you for the inspiration, Yo-Yo Ma.

learning blocks

If you’d like to incorporate art discussions at home, here are some tips:

1- Start with what you are most familiar with – either a particular region, style, or artist.
2- Keep it simple at first – 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the age of your kids.
3- Consistency is important: whatever your frequency (once or twice a month is a good start), making cultural discussions a regular event in your house enforces relevancy.
4- Art is everywhere – it’s not just limited to images on the internet and books. Saree weaving (and the motifs and images used on sarees), sculpture, and even jewelry are art forms in their own right – and India has a rich tradition in all of these forms.

Like the suggestions in this article? Gnaana makes it easy for busy families to incorporate culture at home – using a multi-sensorial, multi-disciplinary approach.

We design and produce high-style products such as wooden toys, beginner language books that facilitate early language learning, posters, and recipe cooking cards that let children explore Indian flavors, geography, math and reading skills all at the same time.

Gnaana is currently conducting its Love Your Language Alphabet Blocks Pre-Order Campaign to bring back the company’s beautiful Hindi, Gujarati, Telugu and Tamil Alphabet Blocks.


Gnaana was the first to develop and market this classic educational toy for the global South Asian diaspora – and we hope to keep this important language tool available for the years to come. For more information, and to support the campaign, click here

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