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Into a colourful world

WHEN ANJAN would spontaneously pick up a pencil and start doodling, his parents' reaction was to tear the paper in shreds and tick off the two-year-old. Fourteen years later the father justifies his action: Anjan suffers from cerebral palsy, his conditioned exacerbated by a lack of vision, speech and hearing. He is also a cripple. The parents worried that if the boy adopted drawing as a means of communication, he would not respond to his daily therapy sessions. But special children have special talents and Anjan's was that of a painter.

For a recent exhibition launched by Amritha Balakendram to signal the success of young children, Anjan's telling portrait of Mata Amritanandamayi was given a pride of place. Active, imaginative canvases lined the walls of Kalikota Palace, Thripunithura, which determined that despite his ongoing battle with cerebral palsy, Anjan was not powerless to express himself.

Ironically even as he picks a variety of subjects such as portraiture, landscapes and animals, they are not angst ridden or stormy. Who knows, maybe his world is calm and painting is an act of pleasure for this child. It has much to say about the devoted parents who have left no stone unturned to make his world a brighter place. They have physically carried him all over the country, to the Himalayas in the north and Assam in the East. "I want to give him everything; show him all the sights and make him experience everything that a normal child would", says his doting father. Having travelled extensively, Anjan has built a rich, tangible base, which he puts to good use in his art.

The show, however, belonged to 13-year-old Krishnanunni Sivan. Deaf and dumb Sivan drove into the Guinness book of World Records when he got behind the wheels of every conceivable automobile that he could lay his hands on. At the International Stadium in Kaloor last year, the teenager drove a Tata truck, a public bus, motorbikes and scooters and cars of different makes. At the Kalikota Palace, his paintings on aluminium sheets were put up.

Polio-stricken Kamarban is a lively 19-year-old who loves to paint but her condition doesn't allow her to sit or stand for long. She has got around the problem by lying down on the floor and painting; her produce is simple landscapes mostly of the serene backwaters. Kamarban has taken lessons from an art school in Fort Kochi and this is evident in the striking treatment of coconut palms and the fishing boats.

Three cheers to the trio who with determination has triumphed over their handicaps to lead a rewarding life.

Also on display were the works of Sruthy Saseendran, a fifth standard student, whose works are characterised by a wealth of colours.

Sruthy is not a special child but a child prodigy who has held solo exhibitions before.

S. K.

Photos by H. Vibhu

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