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Artworks by specially-abled showcases skill and social concerns

Artist Divanshu Gupta standing with his artworks 'Every problem has a solution' and 'Antique clock' at the ongoing group show 'Beyond Limits-2021"

It is not just the aesthetics and the finesse of paintings that impresses the viewer at the ongoing group art show “Beyond Limits-2021” curated by noted artist Arpana Caur and organised by Family of Disabled (FOD) at the Arpana Art Gallery at Siri Fort Institutional Area.

One is wonderstruck with the themes and issues dealt in these works all created by specially-abled persons, with whom FOD works to build their capacities through various programmes. A prominent work exemplifying this is “Every Problem Has A Solution” by Divanshu Gupta, who is speech and hearing impaired, which shows an ear and lock on either ends with a key in the middle, highlighting several issues.

Talking about it to India Narrative, Gupta said: “Key is vital for everything – unlocking a lock, scooter, a door among others – making them functional and operative. But lack of hearing can’t be rectified by any key.” At another level, he said, the work states that there is no problem in the world that can’t be solved or overcome. 

Gupta’s other work "Antique clock" is a sand clock portraying several ears moving from its upper end to the lower one. “Without its alarm, this clock is of no use to people who can hear while for the hearing impaired it does not make a difference. For those who are unable to hear, waking up in time is a challenge, thus making it really difficult for them to keep track of time or keep appointments.” He clarifies that these works don’t represent his resentment. “I am okay with the way I am,” he averred with a beaming smile.

His works are attractive with clean outlines and sombre hues.

Raising the burning issue of pollution and its ill-effect on the society through divinity, Assam’s Tribit Hajong Untitled work has masked Lord Hanuman flying with a parachute while the hazy cityscape shows factories belching smoke. As an artist deeply committed to the environment, his works highlight the damage humans are causing to Nature. 

Deepali Sharma’s “Hunting” is symbolic with meanings as the fettered human hands depict avarice and wanting to kill other beings while the animals who are born free, represent closeness to Mother Nature. Taking us closer to Nature are Ranthambore School of Art trained, wildlife artist Imamuddin’s works “Deer” and “Tiger Lurking” – both rich in dexterous details, colours and texture – making them look like photographs.

Zeroing on economic disparity, hunger and poverty, Chandana Das Dutta’s “Cry Of Hunger” tugs at the viewers’ heartstrings. The famished girl and boy, barely clothed, look up at the sky and the urban skyscrapers, begging for food. The dark blue colour truly makes the work poignant.

Giving a contemporary touch to Lord Ganesha are Ajay Kumar Garg’s “Ganesha enjoying see-saw”; “Ganesha riding an autorickshaw”; and “Ganesha with Charkha”. The elephant-god has a child-like frame dominated by innocence while his vahana or ride, the mouse continues to be his companion. Likewise, Koushani Ghatak’s “Lord Ganesha” using pastel and watercolours gives the God a mild appearance which is endearing.

Kolkata’s Arijit Roy’s “Lord Ganesha” with a cloth headgear, a religious mark on the forehead is impressive as is the green foliage background The artist’s “Durga Maa” with a woman wielding a trident standing or probably emerging from water is elegant.

Arveend Budh Singh, a self-taught artist in his “Buddha” reiterates the need to be gentle and at peace with self, to lead and live a fruitful life and attain moksha. Gautam’s eyes are a sea of serenity and the peepal tree background provides the perfect setting.

Sharing his thoughts with India Narrative, Singh remarked: “If we all try to adhere to the teachings and the path shown by Buddha, we too can bring about tranquility in our life and be in harmony with the Nature.”

Chennai-based G. Suvedha’s “Worship” and “Abhishekam” brings out human deference to the divine. The former has a devotee bowing down at feet of the deity while the second shows the worshipper pouring water or milk at the deity’s feet. Note the chipped digits of the deity’s feet which give the work a touch of realism.

Realism is also amply reflected in R. Venkatesh’s “Enjoying The Rain” and “Flower Seller”. The scene of rain in a rural setting with the mother holding the baby under her sari and the daughter shielding her head with a cover look life-like. That the children and the mother are enjoying the showers is evident from their eyes! The second painting is a typical metro scene with a small girl selling flowers. The girl’s desperation comes across as the flowers are the only means for feeding her family and self.

Beyond Limit is an annual event held by FOD to bring to the fore the artistic talent from across the country for exhibition and sale.

(The exhibition is on view till December 12, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.)