KARACHI: It was heartening to see the opening of an exhibition of artworks made by children, organised by Special Children Educational Institute (SCEI) in accordance with the United Nations International Day for Persons with Disabilities at Grandeur Art Gallery on Tuesday.
The show is titled ‘I’m Special and So Is My Country’.
All the artworks on display are collaborative pieces. The media that the children have used range from oil-on-canvas to figures made out of papier mache. To suggest that all of them are startling works of art would be an overstatement of sorts because people might construe it as an act of dutifully trying to encourage the students. Not true. The artworks speak for themselves. The children may have been helped by their instructors, but the way they’ve coloured the images, drawn the outlines and made the postures of their subjects is quite extraordinary.For example, a painting titled ‘Cricketer’ is a very nice illustration of how perceptive these young minds are. It’s a picture of a left-handed batsman playing a cover-drive. The noticeable feature of the image is the position of the head and footwork of the batsman. The right leg is stretched out and the bat is vertically driven, just as it should. Brilliant! The children who collaborated on the piece were Shunaid, Omer Bari, Ahsan, Shahzeb Alam and Merchant. The fact that they are autistic makes the viewer all the more pleasantly surprised.
Then a painting of a gulmohar tree with a crow perched on top looks like as if it’s done by a professional artist. ‘Balloon Wallah’ and ‘Rickshaw’ (made by Shunaid, Sabahat, Amna, Ayesha) again are quite startling because of the level of visual verisimilitude that the paintings have.
This writer’s favourite artwork, though it is difficult to put your finger on one, is ‘Camel’. It’s not the animal that’s the central character of the painting which catches the viewer’s eye immediately, but the three layers of colours – brown, dark blue and light blue – that are quite striking. The brown indicates the sand, the dark blue choppy waters and the light blue, the sky. The children have done a remarkable job in creating a whole scene that one usually witnesses at the beach.
The papier mache work in which birds are highlighted is no less engaging.
Talking to Dawn, SCEI’s Saima Haq said the show was arranged to encourage the children and to make art lovers realise that disability was not limited to poverty-stricken people alone.
The exhibition will continue till Dec 6.