CHENNAI: It didn’t take long for fear to become the operative word of 2020 — of losing jobs, of not being able to meet loved ones, of our mental health taking a turn for the worse, and most of all, of catching the virus despite following precautions. While in the past seven months we have all looked for different hobbies to keep our mind engaged and not engulfed in the circle of uncertainty and fear, 12-year-old Tisha Katrela decided to focus on those who needed a helping hand during the pandemic. This thought dawned on her when her grandparents were tested positive for the virus in June. With a whirlwind of emotions taking over her, Tisha, who has always been a passionate artist, decided to paint her emotions. She then auctioned them off to raise proceeds for the paediatric wing of the Adyar Cancer Institute.
“Initially, it (the lockdown) was pretty interesting. I had time to spare for my family and art. But, gradually it got intense and my family members were afraid of the COVID threat. My grandparents tested positive, and later around 16 other members of my family were also infected,” says Tisha, who was also quarantined with her family, but tested negative. With emotions taking over her during and after the isolation, she turned to her family and art for comfort.
“The only thing that pulled me out of it was the love I received from my parents, grandparents and art. I understood how lucky I was to get all the privileges I had, how people outside our world were suffering,” she says.
Having expressed her feelings through her art all these years, she fell back to it; not only to lift her spirits but to use it to make a difference. She picked up her palette and made the first stroke towards helping underprivileged young patients at the Adyar Cancer Institute. She painted a myriad of themes — abstract, music, emotions — across her canvas, with blended colours in abstract design using acrylic paints, oil paints and watercolours. She works with canvas, sandpaper and cardboard to highlight different textures. With online schooling, Tisha had more to dedicate towards art and she spent around four hours a day, sometimes more, beside her canvas.
Her acrylic paintings were auctioned by the Mylapore Ladies Circle as part of their Kids In Action (KIA) programme, proceeds from which were donated to the paediatric wing of the Cancer Institute. “Around three years ago, volunteers from Mylapore Ladies Circle renovated the park at the paediatric division. I was really happy to have contributed money to paint and reconstruct the benches there,” she says.
At the auction, held on October 11, Tisha managed to sell six of her paintings. One of the winning bidders for her work was Amresh Ganesh, a popular Tamil film composer. Gushing over her painting, Amresh says, “She’s done an excellent job; especially for someone so young. The headphones drawn on a colourful background shows that sound also has colour in it. It was very well made.” One of her other paintings also found a place in actor Parvati Nair’s home as well.
While bidders have chose their favourite paintings, Tisha, who usually does not name her paintings, is unable to point to just one as it is the expression of her mental state at that point.
Tishas’ paintings are on sale on Instagram @_.delineation._ . They are priced from Rs 3,000.