Goldsmith Krishnan and his wife Lakshmi from Kannadiparambu, Kannur, were totally disheartened when they came to know that their third son C V Surendran could walk no more, after he was diagnosed for spino-muscular atrophy. The disease put Surendran on wheelchair for the rest of his life at the age of 15, when he was a standard 10 student. But he was but unstoppable. He continued dreaming and filled the blank papers that came across his way with beautiful images. His weak hands were not able to support a painting brush, hence used ballpoint pens to copy the images that came to his mind.
The ballpoint pen paintings of Surendran were noticed by his brothers and with the help of the artists of Kannur, they conducted the first ballpoint pen painting exhibition of Surendran at the Kannur Town Hall in the year 2007.
Thus began the saga. Surendran slowly started to lose himself in ballpoint pen painting. With just the colours red, black, blue and green, Surendran was creating a wonder world. The images Surendran visualised sitting on the wheel chair became famous following several exhibitions and he got invited to Mumbai and New Delhi for conducting exhibitions.
Jahangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, and Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery, New Delhi, exhibited the works of the spirited mind in the years 2010 and 2012, respectively.
“When I started painting, the images I drew reflected the sad side of my life. People would cry after viewing them. But then I realised that art should be more than revealing the pains of your mind. Art and the artist should reveal shared realities. This observation had an impact on my works and I started working on nature, birds, rivers, social issues, Gods and Goddesses. So many of my works were sold since then,” said Surendran.
Around 30 works of Surendran have been exhibited at the Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery, Kozhikode. “This is my tenth exhibition,” said Surendran, probably the lone ballpoint pen artist the nation can be proud of.
Surendran attributes all the success and peace he enjoys at present to the strong support from his family including parents, five brothers, a sister and their families.
“When I had to sit at home following the disease, I had never imagined that the colourful days would come back in my life. The ballpoint pens gave wings to my dreams. My room is now full of ballpoint pens which were gifted by my brothers and friends.’’