Competition Mahak Khemka from Coimbatore won the second prize at the National painting competition on water conservation

A bright red canvas, a partly arid blue globe, a little green, a waterfall, and 19 colourful human figures come together to convey the message on water conservation. The painting won Mahak Khemka, a second prize at the national level painting competition conducted by the Ministry of Water Resources. She’s studying in class VI at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

From over 20 lakh entries from across the state, a selected few make it to the state level finals. At the state level, Mahak’s painting on the topic ‘replete ground water before it depletes’ got her a first prize and an entry into the finals in Delhi. The topic “Save water-Save the world,” was given to the finalists on the spot and they were given two hours to finish the painting. “To save time, I made the outline in sketch pen instead of pencil,” says Mahak. She chooses a novel background in bright red and packs in a lot of concepts with the use of pencil, pastel, water colours and poster colours. On one side, some figures convey simple messages such as, ‘don’t keep the water tap open while brushing your teeth’, ‘recycle salt water’, ‘use low flush’, ‘repair leakages’, and so on while others carry placards that say ‘grow more trees’, ‘harvest rain water’ and ‘stop industrial effluents being let into water’.

Conserve water

A golden yellow tap lets out a water droplet and there is a human life in it. “Conserve water and conserve life is the message,” smiles Mahak. She has drawn a cute little piggy bank into which flows water from drip irrigation, rain water harvesting, and check dams. The keyword is ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. Her parents, Ashish Khemka and Manisha Khemka, attribute her success to regular practice. “She spent several hours and came up with more than 100 drawings while preparing for the finals,” they add.

Mahak studies art at the Chitrakala Academy, run by artists V. Jeevananthan and V. Chandrasekhar. “My art teachers guided me. I like to paint village scenes, landscapes, rainy days and caricatures. I am learning how to draw portraits,” she says. A regular at various painting competitions, she has done paintings on global warming and energy conservation. The second prize at the national finals won her a cash award of Rs. 50,000.

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