It would not only be difficult but extremely challenging if your eyes were blindfolded and you would have been asked to paint on a canvas.
But Krupa Shah, an artist with a mission, firmly believes that art has a higher purpose in life. She has been teaching a group of visually impaired children how to paint. Using painting as a medium of expression, she is teaching them that life is all about taking up challenges and showing the world that nothing is impossible.
At Happy Home and School for the Blind in Mumbai, she is training these children in creating masterpieces with their paint brushes by simply recognising each colour by its unique smell. The colours are made of natural extract oils. A fragrance is added to each colour to help children identify them. For instance, red smells of strawberry, brown colour smells of chocolate and white colour smells of vanilla. In this way, the concepts of colour are taught to the children.
While it was important for the kids to know that blindness should not deter them from painting, there were challenges in teaching them to do so. Training them in handling tools and moving them within the space of the canvas was challenging.
Also, it was difficult to teach them how to create a balance between warm and cool toned colours. But what made the efforts worth it was their willingness to learn.
These children already have an inferiority complex because of their lack of vision. Painting makes them feel that they are no different from others. The ability to create something on their own helps them gain self confidence and self reliance.
Krupa says, “As an artist, I know that you don’t need eyes to paint. You need passion and an expression. It is with this in mind that I help these kids to paint and help turn their obstacles into opportunities.”
As an artist, Krupa has given expressions to different issues and social ethos through her art. In the fight for #JusticeForAsifa, Krupa made a huge painting of Asifa and gathered funds to the tune of more than Rs. One Lakh. She is soon to donate the painting and the funds to Asifa’s family, including a part for the lawyer fighting Asifa’s case. Krupa has also painted for the cause of drought affected farmers of Maharasthra, and handed it to the Chief Minister of the State, Devendra Fadnavis.
Krupa is also in talks with the State Education Minister, Vinod Tawde, to ensure that art is made mandatory in schools and colleges. She says,“Today’s millennials are so occupied with their technology and gadgets that they need art as a stressbuster.”