Nothing’s waste for this toy-maker at Kochi Biennale
Art & Culture

Nothing’s waste for this toy-maker at Kochi Biennale


For toymaker Subid Ahimsa nothing is waste and he proves this at a workshop as part of the ongoing 108-day Kochi-Muziris Biennale which started on December 12.

For Subid Ahimsa, there is nothing in the world that is waste, and this is something he reiterates at a workshop the youngster led alongside the ongoing Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

At a session on toy-making using waste material, this IITian-turned-toymaker says children have been his teachers, providing fresh ideas. “In all my workshops, I may not be sure if I am imparting any ideas to the kids, but I always gain something new from them,” shares Subid who took training in toy-making from Arvind Gupta, a pioneer in making toys out of ordinary stuff.

“I consider him as well my guru, and the website of Arvind Gupta is my manual.” Subid finds present-day education system ‘very bookish’ and capable of killing one’s ability to learn. “This two-day workshop (which started on Monday) is an attempt to give confidence to children that they can create anything if they have the determination and zeal. Also, it makes them understand that importance of waste management,” adds Subid who quit his lucrative corporate job to do ‘something different’.

Through making toys from ‘waste’ or low-cost/easily-available materials, Subid is trying to spread the spirit of ‘ahimsa’. “Toys create happiness, the first gift to a child, best next to care. I wish to spread the message of non-violence for a peaceful world,” he says. “I have chosen toys as a good media to communicate this. It would be great if anyone is interested to develop this work.”

Head for ‘Art By Children’, which is organising the workshop, Blaise Joseph, says, “His vision is to build a world where people are respected for their social values. One where children are empowered not by mere degree, but by good principles and creativity.”

The toymaker from Valancherry in north Kerala’s Malappuram district says, “Instead of destroying trash, we just have to think for a while.”

Paper fans, puppets and flutes come out of straw. Magic paper wands, spinning toys using old CDs and flying toys are just some of the things Subid makes to spread his message. “Toys made are repairable and re-makeable, giving valuable lessons of self-reliance and sustainability. The process teaches values like care, share, patience and teamwork,” says Subid, who has been part of many people’s movements and was jailed for a week as part of the famous ‘Plachimada Struggle’ against an MNC that drained resources from a rugged Palakkad hamlet in the early 2000s.