|Image Source: The Hindu|
There is one man whose story inspires every artist and creative mind in our village. I am talking about the artist Ganesh Kumar, who despite being paralyzed with Polio from a very young age, fought with destiny and carved out a grand niche for himself in the world by creating magnificent paintings using his mouth.
Let me tell you his story.
Ganesh Kumar was born in 1969 in my village Kunhimangalam, a picturesque little place in the shadows of the misty hills of Ezhimala. He was a healthy baby till the age of one when he was affected by poliomyelitis which slowly paralyzed his legs.
Inspired by the pictures in the drawing books of his brother or calendars that adorned his home, little Ganesh would draw pictures in the sand in front of his house. I remember reading an interview of his that the first drawing he did was that of Lord Ganesha.
Tragedy struck harder when Polio affected his hands as well. Bound to a wheelchair for life, the lone past time of Ganesh was no longer possible. During those days, he started experimenting to paint by holding a brush in his mouth and persisted till he succeeded in bringing the images onto to the paper. By the age of seven, he mastered the art.
His financial circumstances didn’t allow him to pursue the art in any reputed school of art.
He hated his life, his disability, and realization that he would be a burden to his parents for life. The only happiness was when he painted. So he continued to paint and under the loving care of a mother, Ganesh became better and better in his art day by day.
A visit to get treatment for his myopia from Dr. Jayanth, a practicing Ophthalmologist in Kannur, in 1988 proved to be a turning point in his life. Doctor Jayanth told him about AMFPA, the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists based in Liechtenstein, a tiny European country. Encouraged by the Doctor, Ganesh Kumar submitted some paintings and his resume to AMFPA. Representatives from the association visited their house very soon and were convinced that his claim to be a mouth artist was genuine. They selected Ganesh Kumar as its student member. His life changed after that. With their financial support, he enrolled as a student under a well-known portrait artist K.T Narayanan Master in 1989 whose guidance tremendously helped Ganesh to hone his talent further.
Though he never had any formal school education, he passed Matriculation in 1990 and went on to complete graduation in literature from the University of Calicut, Kerala in 1998, through distant education.
After that, there was no turning back. His first international outing was in 1991 when AMFPA invited him for the Asian artist’s Summit in Taiwan. Every year after that, he took part in the Demonstration camp at AMFPA franchise in Mumbai during Diwali. In 1993, he was honored with the ‘Outstanding Young Indian’ award.
His paintings made him financially independent and he became a sought-after artist in the whole of India and the world. He travelled to Taiwan, Rome, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Singapore and many metropolitan cities in India to exhibit his paintings and won many hearts.
In1997, he opened a cultural center for kids in our village called “Niram” to groom new talents. Classes are held for a select group of students in art, music and theater by experts in the respective fields
In 2006, he was instrumental in the formation of an organization called “FLY without wings” to help similarly disabled people to overcome all type of limitations. Every year, FLY organize camps, outings, creative workshops, arts and music programs for its members and teach them to lead a life without limitations. It has over 500 members who find inspiration from his works and words.
He has painted over 3000 paintings till date and continues to bring in colors to the world through his magnificent paintings.
Check out some of his paintings here: ARTIST GANESH KUMAR
Read more about him on his blog: http://ganeshtkumar.blogspot.in/
Connect with him on Facebook
Watch him paint in this video:
Watch him paint in this video:
Hope this post has inspired you to look at life with more enthusiasm. Dream a dream and it will come true.