HYDERABAD: An opportunity to showcase one’s creations in a solo art exhibition is an achievement few 18-year-olds can boast of. For Srinivas Vikram, however, it is twice the excitement as talks for his first international exhibition to be held in Seattle in mid-year are being finalized.
“I wanted a six-month break for Vicky but that is unlikely now,” says a proud Karuna Gopal, mother of the autistic teenager.
Being a special child, Vikram has his own sense of routine and special needs. The 41 paintings on display at ‘Beyond Coffee’ were produced by him over a period of four years. “He has been quite ill of late. I try to make sure he dedicates four hours a day to painting. However, there have been months when no canvas was produced and he would stay away from painting,” explains Karuna who confesses to have engineered ways to instil in Vikram a sense of accomplishment through art.
“Recently, two of Vikram’s paintings were to be delivered at a buyer’s home. He went there in person with the paintings and brought back the payment in cheque. It was a proud moment and there has been a sense of maturity developing in him which he is unable to express, but I can sense it,” shares Karuna.
The ‘God’ series and the ‘Besotted by Bamboo’ series which exhibit foliage in vivid colours have been on display since January 25 and have attracted a large audience. Recently, a miniature painting by Vikram created by dabbing colours using earbuds sold for `20,000. “He feels excited whenever he is applauded for his work. He has begun to realize that what he is doing has earned him the praise,” observes Karuna who started encouraging her son to take up arts seriously by gifting his paintings to friends and family on special occasions. “It became a topic of discussion with him whenever visitors were around to ask on what Vicky was up to next. That was how I cajoled him to take up painting,” his mother recalls.
Choosing a career interesting enough for Vikram wasn’t easy as forceful instructions are of little significance. “For long I thought he would make a good sportsman as he has been very athletic since childhood. When he developed epilepsy, I had to give up the dream. Vikram would also oppose the idea of forcing him to study or learn. ‘Mamma is mamma, mamma is not teacher’ was the refrain he would use. Painting was more of a game we were playing together and I am sure this will be his calling,” says Karuna.
Next on Vikram’s list is a series of paintings which portray the cross section of bamboo. As of now, the protege is enjoying a well-deserved break unwinding with Shakira and taking long walks.