UDUPI: Life threw many challenges at these siblings, but couldn’t break their spirit.
Ganesh Kulal Panjimar (35) and his sister Suma Panjimar (22) are artists who have used various mediums like pencil, oils, and acrylic to create artwork. Interestingly, they learned their art by watching YouTube videos with step-by-step instructions and an oral explanation.
Ganesh has created over 700 drawings and paintings and also gifted his initial works to those who admired them. Suma’s favorite is quilling, and she too has created many works. The siblings live with a medical condition called osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a genetic disease that makes bones fragile and makes them prone to fractures.
Children of Nagamani and late Rama Moolya of Panjimar, near Shirva, in Udupi, Ganesh, and Suma have lived with the disease for almost all their lives. Ganesh developed osteogenesis imperfecta when he was five years old, while Suma developed the genetic disease when she was only seven months old. As she couldn’t walk, she had to drop out of school when she was in Class 6. She has undergone eight surgeries. Ganesh weighs only about 22kg and has undergone surgery once.
Despite their condition, the siblings were ambitious about getting an education and finding jobs. They tried their best to ensure they didn’t have to discontinue their education. A donor had arranged for an electric battery-charged tricycle for Ganesh, so he completed his B.Com course.
How Ganesh started his journey into art is a touching tale. Looking at the photograph of his mother, he replicated it, and his skill only bloomed after that.
Though many admirers came to him, seeking to learn his art, Ganesh had to turn them down. The siblings told The New Sunday Express that the support they have received from art lovers is their best motivation. Ganesh has created several drawings of gods, eminent personalities, birds, and animals. Suma, who has created more than 100 arts and crafts works, says Ganesh is her inspiration. Ganesh has been felicitated by various organizations more than 44 times and won the Udupi district-level Kannada Rajyotsava award in 2021.
Ganesh says he prefers to work on his art in the morning hours. “Artwork requires initial concentration. Sometimes, there is failure but concentration is important,’’ he says. They order raw materials for their art online, which is a great help.
Ganesh has a YouTube channel -- Ganesh Panjimar Arts -- where viewers can glimpse his talent and dedication. Ganesh publicizes his artwork through YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms, and Suma assists him by recording his work on a mobile camera and uploading it on social media platforms. Their art has garnered commendation from across the world. Suma’s resin art ideas are depicted in ‘key chains’ -- she transforms keychains into attractive pieces with some value addition, and sells them for a nominal price. Her silk thread art, clay art, and quilling are mesmerizing pieces of work. Suma was also felicitated 20 times.
Dr Annayya Kulal Ulthur, a doctor based in Mangaluru, has seen the efforts put in by the siblings and their desire to learn new skills. He told TNSE that Ganesh and Suma are an inspiration to many, as they have broken barriers and now lead a life with hope and self-confidence. ‘’Many people, despite having all advantages, are like parasites, but Ganesh and Suma have proved that mental courage is important in life. They are an inspiration to many parents of physically challenged children, that their wards too can achieve great things,” he said.
Ganesh and Suma have displayed their art at many exhibitions as well. Those who invite them to participate in exhibitions or even to felicitate them are requested to provide utmost care while they are transported from one area to another. Even at the venue, organizers need to ensure that unnecessary rush is not created on the stage, as even a mild push might turn catastrophic as their bones are very fragile. ‘’So we attend functions and events very rarely,’’ the pair concluded.