Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hearing-impaired artist to exhibit works in Tokyo

Source Link - Hearing-impaired artist to exhibit works in Tokyo

A woman clad in a bright yellow sari looks into a red room where a young girl, clad in a blue salwar, reclines in a chair. Overhead, the
ceiling fan moves lazily, while outside a yellow auto waits. Artist M Ramalingam has been fascinated by the world of colour since childhood.

Spotting the boy's talent, his art teacher at St Louis Institute for the Deaf and Blind encouraged him to study art. Today, at 52, Ramalingam has held innumerable exhibitions and is the only Indian artist who will be showing his work at the 2009 ParaArt Tokyo Exhibition at Seibu Gallery, Tokyo.

"In August, I received an invitation from Nippon Charity Kyokai Foundation to participate in the exhibition," says Ramalingam, who is off to Tokyo on September 10. The aim of the exhibition, which will be held from September 11 to 16, is to enhance self-reliance and self-support of persons with disabilities through the arts, and raise awareness about disability issues.

"My hearing impairment has never been a problem since I am an artist, and what I do is very visual," says Ramalingam, who studied at the Government College of Arts. "In college, my friend helped me with the theory."

Ramalingam has won various awards and grants from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Charles Wallace Trust, UK, and Commonwealth Foundation. However, the award he cherishes most is President's national award that he received in 1986 for most efficient employee. "I am very honoured to have received it," says Ramalingam, who works with Indian Overseas Bank and paints on weekends. "He paints whenever he gets free time it could be in the morning or evening, though it's usually on a Sunday," says his wife, Latha.

Ramalingam's works depict ordinary people in everyday activities, though carrying an element of fantasy. So you will find a swimming pool next to a bed and a tree inside a living room. You also find recurring motifs of cows, ceilings fans, and the autorickshaw. "Autos are plentiful on our streets. And when you go abroad and depict something that is quintessentially Indian, it's the auto," says Ramalingam, who works with mixed media, Indian ink and acrylics.

During his stay in Tokyo, he will also be teaching art to deaf children there. "It's easier to work abroad as there are lots of interpreters and people who can sign," says Ramalingam, who wants to spend the rest of his life painting. "I have no particular long-term plans. I just want to work with colours," he says, smiling.