Disability no bar for their art expression

New Delhi: Mandeep Singh Manu suffers from cerebral palsy while Ajay Kumar Behera is mentally retarded, but their disabilities haven`t crippled their enthusiasm for life.

Diligently, they have channelised their talents and skills to produce neat works of digital art and popular Madhubani paintings, which were showcased here at an exhibition of art works of 48 differently abled artists.

In its 10th edition, "Beyond Limits" at Arpana Art Gallery on Khel Gaon Marg is an exhibition-cum-sale with over 100 works of artists with disabilities from different parts of India.

The exhibition that began Nov 30 will end Dec 6. Incidentally, Dec 3 (Tuesday) is World Disability Day.

Family of Disabled (FOD) works for the uplift of differently abled artists, and this annual affair is a means to reach out to a wider audience and showcase how people with various disabilities use art as a medium of expression.

"Most of these artists have Master`s degree in art while some are self-taught. Usually when one hears the term disabled, they relate it to amateurish artwork. This is the mindset, unfortunately, most of us have. But, we are here to change that perception," Preeti Johar, FOD spokesperson, told IANS.

"It is a means to express themselves. Their disability and educational qualification don`t come as a barrier. They are here because they are able to deliver with their imagination and skills," she added.

FOD follows a stringent process at the time of selecting artworks from these artists. A jury comprising eminent artists Arpana Caur and Sudip Roy choose the final artworks.

"It is not easy as people might assume. It is important the works are good enough to be liked and bought by people to help the artists earn from this exhibition and sustain themselves," said Johar.

She said the artists range from visually handicapped and speech impaired, polio afflicted, to those with genetic disorders and having amputated limbs.

"See the case of Behera. Usually mentally retarded people can`t learn easily, but can be trained in a particular skill. Behera specialises in Madhubani paintings because he focussed on this skill and he is not from Bihar. So it was new for him," she added.

The paintings are priced between Rs.2,000 and Rs.50,000.