Hearing impaired speak volumes through Kangra paintings
New Delhi : The magic that they weave through their paintings overpowers all their handicaps. Fine and delicate, the miniature Kangra paintings by a group of hearing impaired youth exhibited in the capital Sunday were a treat for the onlookers.
Aimed at encouraging the young artists and reinstating their confidence that their handicap cannot prevent them from achieving their dreams, the exhibition was organised by Canadian high commissioner David Malone at the Canada House here.
"I ran into one of these painters in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, about nine months back. I am an art collector and have travelled around the world. But there was something about these paintings that simply touched me.
"After I returned I realised that I wanted to collect these paintings. Since then, I have collected 18 of these miniature Kangra paintings. People abroad have greatly appreciated these paintings and that's why I decided to organise an exhibition in Delhi so that people here can see them as well," Malone told IANS.
Dressed in their traditional colourful attire, the painters sat in corners of the building, immersed in working on their paintings. In all, eight painters, three girls and five boys, in the age group of 22-26 participated in the two-hour event.
Mukesh said it takes him five days to complete one painting.
Gopal, the interpreter who stood by and communicated with him in the sign language, said that painters like Mukesh were trained for a year at the Kangra Art Gallery in Himachal Pradesh, facilitated by the Chinmaya Organisation for Rural Development (CORD) before going on to paint professionally.
Holding their paint brushes carefully and confidently, the painters concentrated hard as they delicately drew the outline of princes and princesses, animals and trees and landscapes, and filled them all with bright colours.
Rita Gharekhan, a porcelain artist who visited the exhibition, said the one thing that sets the Kangra paintings aside was the multi-framing technique that they use.
"There is a lyrical quality in the paintings. They are soft, delicate and have finesse. And then there is multi-framing, a technique of painting a frame within another, which gives it the illusion of depth," Gharekhan said.
Aisha Khan, another visitor, said: "The paintings are exquisite. Most of them portray prince and princesses with very pleasing faces. And the finesse is amazing, even a bead of the jewellery is carefully drawn and coloured.
"But the best thing is the confidence of the painters. They are always smiling. So what if they can't hear or speak? They have spoken volumes through their work."
In all, 73 paintings - with the price tag starting at Rs.1,000 - were exhibited. Sets of miniatures and greeting cards were also put up for sale.