The aurally and visually challenged are said to have heightened senses outside their impairment. There is a difference in perception in factoring in minute details that may not be privy to others. Naturally, their creative productions would mirror this altered view of reality and a glimpse into their world is on offer at the National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) where the ‘Thoughts and Strokes’ degree show 2013 is under way.
Inaugurated by artist Bose Krishnamachari here on Wednesday morning, the five-day show includes a range of exhibits including oil paintings, stone sculptures and calendars and brochures created by the final year Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hearing Impaired) students at NISH. The sprawling campus had been turned into a contemporary art gallery of sorts with even the previous year’s productions finding a place to be displayed.
Mr. Krishnamachari’s first encounter with the talent at NISH was during an art exhibition held as part of the Emerging Kerala meet in Kochi last year. During his first visit to the NISH campus, the artist urged students not to abandon their creative aspirations as many BFA degree holders tend to later on veer towards more lucrative professions.
Probably one of their most striking exhibits was one that saw the contribution of all the 26 final year students. Right outside their gallery a stone ‘guru’ was seated and around him rows of 26 stone stumps, each symbolising a student, had been arranged. The top of the stumps had faces engraved on it – eerily resembling the famed Easter Island heads. What’s more, even the statue of the guru is moulded together from eight different components, the head sculpted by a student of last year’s batch. Upon the head a foot has been carved as well and though open to varying interpretations, some of the students describe it as a symbol of discrimination they feel outside the comfort of the campus due to their impairment, said V. Vineesh, convener of the show.
The brochure of the exhibition released included a brief about each of the 26 students alongside one of their creations. Out of the 26, 12 had specialised in applied arts, 11 in paintings and three chose sculpting. The students were not pushed to certain themes and they were given the freedom to stamp each work of art with their own creative instinct. The result is a sheer diversity of themes and styles of art, evident most in the collection of paintings. This extended to the calendars and brochures by the applied arts students as well, some that would make ideal pamphlets denouncing alcoholism and advocating conservation of electricity and others showcasing the cultural arts of the State. The exhibition will conclude on May 20.