Works of art with ball pen

‘Shame’ by Surendran

‘Shame’ by Surendran  


Surendran counters life’s challenge with his canvas

What would an adolescent boy, active in sports, do if he finds himself afflicted with an incurable debilitating disease? He would take to drawing and painting, if he were Surendran of Kannur. On the play ground in school, 14-year Surendran experienced difficulty in walking. During his SSLC examination, he suddenly collapsed and became totally paralysed. It was spinal muscular atrophy. While the doctors gave him just six months, he was in bed for three years. He could not use his limbs nor could he eat normally. Gradually, he regained use of his fingers.

‘Trapped’ by Surendran

‘Trapped’ by Surendran  

Surendran distracted himself by beginning to draw, first with pencil and then with a ball point pen. Earlier in school, he had some exposure to art — during cultural shows, he used to help with stage décor and also make-up for the students and earn some money too.

While in bed, he would keep a board to support the paper and draw with the pencil. A drawing could be completed in two or three days. In order to give it a touch of colour, he began using the ball point. He gained expertise although a single drawing might even take six months to complete due to the limited use of his fingers. But then it became a passion and a means of rehabilitation too.

Surendran’s ball point works are amazing; he has been able to achieve such finesse that one cannot see a single stroke of the pen on the smooth surface. It is a revelation that one can create such a variety of colours and tones with a ball point.

Although people appreciate his ball point works, takers are few. Surendran, therefore switches to acrylic now and then to make a living. There are both pure colour abstracts and figurative ones. They reflect human feelings such as ‘Shame,’ ‘Separation’ and ‘Trapped.’ The last mentioned shows a fish caught in the hook, symbolising his being stuck to the wheel chair. Some are more thought-provoking, for instance, the one which expresses the “pain of the earth in the hot summer” with a woman’s head bent over an apple, her hair falling over. The ‘Spill of a New One’ is his representation of child birth. His ‘Galaxy’ series is quite attractive too.

Once an artist from the Kerala Chitrakala Parishad happened to see his drawings and decided to include them in an exhibition at Kannur. Surendran’s works have been part of group shows at the Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, and others at Delhi, Puducherry and Bengaluru and recently, in Chennai. Surendran has overcome several health scares bouncing back every time thanks to his art.

Surendran’s father is a jeweller. They are six brothers and a sister and three of his brothers are afflicted with the same disease but to a lesser degree. He is now 45 and got married a year ago. His wife too is paralysed on the one side. Together they face life’s challenges.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 1:20:06 AM |

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