When asked why they love to paint, the children echo in unison that they draw because it makes them happy.
These children do not belong to any ordinary school where art is taught as part of the curriculum. They are all students of the Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK), an NGO working towards the welfare of children with neuromuscular and developmental disabilities.
And these 15 students, aged between 12 and 19 years and diagnosed with conditions like cerebral palsy, autism and learning disabilities, are currently exhibiting their works at The Purple Turtles store in Indiranagar.
Talking about how the show was conceptualised, Sylvia, the curator says, “Two months ago, I met with the director of the society and he spoke about the paintings that the children made at the institute. Later, I visited the place and after just one look at their work, I knew that their paintings would appeal to our customers. So we came up with the idea of showcasing their works at the store to give them a greater exposure.”
The children have a natural aptitude for art and with a little guidance, they have created unique artwork for the show.
As part of the preparations, Vidya Venkat, the art coordinator at the society, handed them a brush and allowed them to paint what they wanted to. The children worked in groups and used strokes, lines and dollops of colours to paint abstract impressions, floral prints, scenery and landscapes. Apart from this, they worked on art forms from different states like Madhubani, Gond and Warli, specially for the exhibition.
In total they created over 40 paintings and in just under one week, the store has sold almost half the number. “The response has been overwhelming. We have asked Vidya to arrange for a few more paintings so that we can display them at the store,” says Sylvia and adds, “The paintings are so beautiful that some of our customers couldn’t believe that these artists suffered from disabilities.”
This is the first public exhibition conducted by the Spastics Society. Buoyed by the success, they plan to reach out to more galleries in Bangalore to showcase the works of the children and their creativity. “For these children, art is a form of self-expression. They use paintings to portray their emotions. And they are very creative. So we want to do all that we can to give them a platform,” Vidya concludes.
The exhibition, ‘Inspiration’ will be on display till August 1 at The Purple Turtles Store, Indiranagar.
Published on July 24, 2014 in The New Indian Express.