‘Desert Rose’ offers a platform for the wheelchair-bound
When Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit gave a small pat on her head appreciating the red flower she had handcrafted, Preetha’s face beamed with pride. Sitting in her wheelchair, she shared her joy with others she had befriended through Pallium India, a charitable trust offering palliative care services.
‘Desert Rose,’ an art exhibition organised by Pallium India at the Alliance Francaise Art Gallery, turned out to be a platform for wheelchair-bound patients to express their inner world in various hues. From a simple painting of a house set in an idyllic landscape to an abstract work of eyes, hands and lips hidden deceptively behind a spread of leaves and flowers, the exhibition has a variety of styles on offer.Proud moment
The artists came together at the gallery on Tuesday for a simple function attended by the Governor. They were all visibly delighted at the attention and appreciation coming their way for a craft which they had perfected only recently.
Jyothikumar, who has displayed the maximum number of paintings here and who has a style of his own, has been wheelchair bound ever since an accident at a construction site in Malappuram a few years ago. Sindhu Sudevan from Murukkumpuzha makes soaps and umbrellas when she is not painting.
In addition to the artists, there were those like George K. Thomas who became wheelchair bound following a road accident in 2009 and is now a campaigner for road safety, having written a book on the subject. He also collaborates with the Motor Vehicles Department to organise awareness camps for the general public.
“The public spaces in our cities, be it the buildings or the public transport, are not friendly to paraplegics. The bus conductors do not even let us in sometimes. At most of the buildings, there are no ramps. These things should change and my dream is to make Thiruvananthapuram a model city in being friendly to paraplegics,” said Mr. George.Aid promised
Ms. Dikshit echoed his views in her short speech and said that the Governor’s office was willing to contribute financially to the efforts taken by Pallium India.
“Those who are bound to wheelchairs should be able to lead a normal life like others. As an initial step, we should make the police, traffic police and the local bodies sensitive to the requirements of paraplegics,” said Ms. Dikshit.
M.R. Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, said that his organisation gave only a helping hand and much of the efforts came from the patients themselves.
Some of the paintings have already been sold out. The exhibition will be on at the Alliance Francaise till April 30.