An auction of paintings by students of an art initiative for those with leprosy

‘From Pain to Paint: A Journey of Transformation through Art', was a fundraiser auction of paintings by the differently-abled students of Bindu Art School, hosted by Courtyard by Marriott.

Founded in February 2005 in the leprosy colony of Bharatapuram in South India, Bindu Arts School is a social art initiative and centre of creativity where those with leprosy can use art as a new way of life — both as a cathartic as well as financial means. The school helps their students gain financial independence by exhibiting and selling their work both locally and online, rather than relying on charity. The ages of the students range between 20 and 84, and they draw upon their own life experiences in their art.

Started by Austrian artist Werner Dornik along with social activist Padma Venkataraman, the auction was a part of Courtyard by Marriott's ‘Spirit to Serve' policy, where associates from hotels attempt to create awareness about leprosy to help the colony's residents feel more accepted in mainstream society.

“They initially laughed at the idea of us starting an art achool,” says Padma, “‘We've never touched a brush!' they said. But since coming to the school, they've gained so much confidence. They're always talking about colours and themes!”

Many of the paintings featured at the auction featured colourful variations on a series of concentric circles — such as the iris of an eye that is the Bindu Art School's logo. The motif is pertinent to the aims of the school, which works to remove social stigma by changing perspectives and perceptions.

All paintings at the auction were sold, raising a total of Rs. 1,90,000, the highest bid for a painting being Rs. 14,000.

The exhibition is open for public viewing at Courtyard by Marriott until March 19th.

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