Agatha, A. Mani, K. Prabha, R. Udhayakumar and G. Suvedha are strangers to each other and come from different parts of the State, but they all share a bond — that of fighting against great odds, including their disability, to give creative expression and prove their worth.
On show at the exhibition organised by Nandini Voice for the Deprived on May 15 at mangayarkarasi Magalir Mandram, Shastri Nagar, were the artistic work and handcrafted products made by these and other differently-abled persons.
Agatha, orthopaedically disabled and an orphan, had on display exquisite greeting cards made by her. “I was raised at the Mother Teresa Convent in Royapuram where I learnt to make these cards. I also make satin ribbon garlands and candles.”
Working in a private firm for a meagre salary and living in a ladies hostel in Harrington Road, Chetpet, Agatha (99404 36749) finds it difficult even to buy chart papers to make the greeting cards.
Mani of Nagercoil who is also orthopaedically disabled, is uneducated, but creates wonderful Ganesha wall hangings with fibre (vettiver) and colourful horses and caparisoned elephants from rubber wood. The cheerful man says he is his own guru, having discovered and polished his artistic skills all by himself.
Orthopaedically disabled Prabha of Villivakkam suffers from a disorder that has rendered her bones so fragile that even a handshake can crush her bones. “I put her in a bag and transport her in my scooter,” says her father V. Krishnamurthy. But she is gifted with so much artistic talent that she has mastered Tanjore painting, reverse glass painting and jewellery making, samples of which were displayed at the expo.
Udaya Kumar of Ramapur (95431 11282), who suffers from muscular dystrophy, finds an outlet to his seething anger through his paintings.
He has held a few solo exhibitions but regrets that people do not support art in the city. “They need not buy the paintings, but at least they can come and view them. His mother V. Shanthakumari says that her son, who finds it difficult to even paint these days, needs financial support. “We feel happy when his work is recognised and bought, but that does not happen often.”
Suvedha from Perungudi (9841790119), who is hearing impaired, excels in painting with dry pastels and water colours.
She also does canvas paintings with knife, sponge and cone. “She received the national Outstanding Creativity Award last December,” says her father N. Ganesan proudly.
V. Lokesh of K.K. Nagar, who suffers from a similar disability, had on display paintings in water colour, acrylic and pen drawings.
A keen volleyball player, he is a ‘tiger specialist' having drawn nearly a dozen paintings featuring the big cat.
N.S. Venkataraman, Trustee, Nandini Voice, who made it possible for these people to gain a platform to showcase their skills, came in for praise by several visitors.
Col. Krishnaswamy, a resident of Besant Nagar, says his dedicated service to the deprived is appreciable. “People can give money for a cause, but how many will be willing to give their time, energy and thought? He thinks for them,” the visitor adds.