How Rotary Bangalore Abilities showcases creativity of differently-abled artists – and how you can get inspired yourself
PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 350 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festival, telecom expo, millets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru recently held an inspiring exhibition featuring 150 artworks by people with disabilities. Titled CANvas, the exhibition was an initiative of Rotary Bangalore Abilities (RBA).
In Part II of this photo essay, we feature more works of artists such as N. Vidarthe, Ranjith, Aishwarya, Aparna MG, Ramakrishnan, Sanath Kumar, Thyagaraj, Sravan PT, and Jijo Das (see Part I here).
“This is the first club of its kind in the world,” says RBA committee member Lakshmi Ravishankar, in a chat with YourStory. Among the RBA board members, 70 percent have disabilities.
The 150 works by 36 artists were priced in the range Rs 450 to Rs 30,000. RBA has been conducting a number of fundraising drives, eg. supporting school expenses of six students, totalling Rs. 1.8 lakh.
Despite speech disabilities, many of the artists communicated through their family members and friends, and shared how much art meant to them as a source of fun and exploration.
"Though digital tools may help, the artistic journey starts in the head,” says Jijo Das, an artist with Down's Syndrome. He begins his art works with sketches, and says that someday he would like to work for studios like Disney as an animator and illustrator.
The artworks are vibrant, colourful, positive, and energising. Many audience viewers were humbled as well as inspired to realise that the artworks were no less in quality than those of many able-bodied artists, according to Lakshmi. She has been volunteering for work with the differently-abled for over 18 years now, since the year 2000.
Giving the artists a pat on the shoulder, a handshake, or a hug boosts their confidence; acknowledging and admiring their art gives them respect and encouragement, she adds. “Even if some of them can’t hear you, your body language speaks to them,” Lakshmi says.
One of the artists from Salem has been selected to speak at the India Inclusion Summit, which will have a range of international speakers, she says. Art for the differently-abled is one of the topics at the summit. Lakshmi hopes the Karnataka government will help take this art initiative to rural areas as well.
“Visit their exhibitions, buy their art works, and encourage and support differently-abled artists,” she urges. “Acknowledgement of their creativity means a lot to them,” Lakshmi signs off.
In sum, smiles can take them miles.
Now, what have you done today to see your problems in perspective, support the differently-abled, and rise to your own true potential as well?
L Subramani, President, Rotary Bangalore Abilities
Aparna MG (L)
Jijo Das (centre)
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