Hearing-and speech-impaired artist G. Suvedha connects meaningfully with her world through the brush and palate

As 23-year-old G. Suvedha applies the brush to a canvas, her students watch her in silence. When she is done, her students try to replicate the strokes. Some do it right, but most don’t.

These slow-learners have Suvedha by their side, holding their hands and helping them complete the pictures. Without a word passing between the students and the teacher, the hour-long session comes to an end. For hearing- and speech-impaired Suvedha, painting that ís communication. When Suvedha’s parents realised their daughter could not hear or talk, they desperately hoped she would find a dream worth chasing. And they were determined to do everything in their power to help her. They did not have to wait too long. “Sketching is a common technique of teaching young children like them. For instance, you draw an apple and explain through gestures what it is. But she never liked the sketches we drew, she would erase them and draw them again,” says N. Ganesan, her father

She started taking professional training in arts from the age of eight. And then, there was no looking back. Suvedha was selected by the Freedom Trust in 2005 and was given a scholarship and free training in arts. She pursued her passion in arts and graduated from The Government College of Fine Arts. “I was the only person with disability in the class, but thankfully I had friends who helped me throughout. Theory was a problem but practical sessions were the best part of my college education,” explains Suvedha through sign language, which her father translates for me. As dictated by the course, she travelled across India. “I loved Jaipur because of its bright colours. The women there wear colourful clothes and accessories beautifully, which gives me a wide palate to work with. I also like Dehradun because it is scenic and is an artist’s delight,” says Suvedha, who teaches art to the differently-abled, free of cost.

Suvedha is adept at pencil drawing, water colouring, oil painting and canvas painting and is now training in graphic designing and has participated in many art shows across the country.

“She was selected by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for Best Individual Creative National Award and was felicitated by former president Pratibha Patil in 2010 in Delhi. That was the proudest moment of our life and we knew that our sacrifices did not go to waste,” says N. Ganesan, a Tamil teacher by profession.Suvedha has big dreams, which include having her exhibitions abroad but that will require more support and encouragement. Says Ganesan, “Recently, a corporate firm bought many of her paintings. Gestures like these will encourage her to work harder and achieve her goals.”

(A column about people who have beat the odds and won)

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