An exhibition of female patients of Mental Health Centre, Peroorkada, is on till September 23

Some time ago, her mind played such games with her that Ramya shunned world, leave alone paint about it. Now she is so immersed in colours that she hardly has time for the world.

The transformation is thanks to art, which has helped many like her at the Mental Health Centre at Peroorkada. A collection of 70 paintings, all by the female inmates of the centre is being put together in an exhibition titled ‘Varnavismayam’, which begins on Friday at Vyloppilli Samskrithi Bhavan in the city.

The work on display includes paintings on glass, canvas and cloth and embroidery works.

“In one of my visits to the hospital, I noticed that the patients have done some excellent paintings and the hospital authorities readily agreed to the idea of exhibiting their works to encourage their efforts. With the support of hospital Superintendent Sunil Kumar, this exhibition took shape,” says Ranjith Ramachandran, who was instrumental in organising the exhibition.

Art therapy is part of the treatment done at the hospital, hospital authorities say. The art and embroidery classes are “like a new world to them,” says Assistant Inspector R. Ammini who leads the art and embroidery classes at the Rehabilitation centre.

“Many among the patients are highly talented and sometimes, I am amazed at the perfection with which they do their paintings. Some get easily discouraged but they are brought back with words of encouragement,” says Ms. Ammini.

These classes not only help in honing their creative skills and providing a change from the hospital environment but also to generate some income.

“To encourage the patients, we pay for the work done, which they take back with them when they go home. The painting lessons also help them to start something of their own and build their self esteem,” adds Ms. Ammini.

There are also plans to promote and support their work by forming a social group called ‘Sakala Kala’.

The exhibition will conclude on September 23.