KOZHIKODE:“Someone has bought my picture,” says an elated Husna Thahnam M K, pointing at a glass painting of a mosque with a ‘sold’ tag on it, exhibited at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery. Apart from Husna, the other nine artists - Libitha, Manjusha K P, Sajitha A M, Badhiya Lulu, Mohammed Riyas, Mohammed Aneez, Mohammed Rameez, Fasal and Navas - are also happy to see the visitors looking at their works and interacting with them. Like Husna’s works, the majority are simple glass paintings of flowers, flower pots, birds or other similar themes, leaving nothing much to the imagination of an art buff. But one will be surprised to see that all these works have been done by differently-abled children.
Proving that disabilities are not a limitation for them to delve into the world of colours, the 10 mentally challenged artists, the students of Karunyatheeram Special School, Kattippara, have come up with their works at ‘Nirakkoottu,’ an ongoing exhibition at the art gallery.
“We started teaching them the skill with no intention of holding an exhibition. But when they started showing great interest and got better in their works, the thought of conducting an exhibition came to our mind,” says school principal Lumthas C K.
Around 250 works of the children, which were completed in five years, have been exhibited at the gallery. Nine of them were sold for `5,000 to `10,000 on the first day of the exhibition.
“The skill training greatly helped in their mental growth. Earlier, they did not know how to even hold a pencil. They can now differentiate the colours of flowers and leaves and are able to paint independently without any support from us,” she points out.
“They now know that blue and red, when mixed, would produce green colour,” she adds.
Apart from glass painting, the students are offered training in other craft skills such as jewellery-making, flower-making, pot painting, etc. at the school.
“We even sew dresses and do embroidery works on them,” says Sajitha, who performs the task of framing her friends’ paintings. “The pictures used to be earlier framed from other shops and now I myself do the work,” she adds.
The other students of the school will be coming to watch their friends’ exhibition, on the concluding day on Saturday.
“We want to show others that these children, who are often marginalised, are equally talented and require great support for their growth. All the other students of the school, except those on wheel-chairs, will also be coming on the concluding day to encourage their friends,” says organising committee member Latheef Kinalur.
The exhibition, jointly organised by the Health Care Foundation and Bodhi Info Solutions, Calicut, was inaugurated by social worker Shabna Ponnadu on February 10.