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Art to the rescue of underprivileged children

April 03
21:51 2013

ArtTime spent eking out a liv-ing on the railway station sketching portraits has prompted artist and art teacher Ganga Narayan Maharana, to reach out to children from the underprivileged and bring out their talent in art.

Maharana, who hails from Orissa and has degrees in fine art from colleges in Bubhaneshwar and Shantinekatan has taken upon himself to “bring out the hidden artistic talent” of children who do not have the means or access to study and develop their abilities in drawing sketching, painting and music among other art forms.

“I have not won any national award but have conducted art shows all across the country. I want to do something for those who are lesser privileged than me, especially children,” says Maharana.

The artist who had in the year 2003 set up the Manorama School of Fine Arts, holds special classes for children, including those from slum areas, five days every week in Mehrauli area here.

“When I came to Delhi I was employed with an ad agency but soon became unemployed when it shut down. I roamed around the railway stations drawing and sketching portraits of people. Somehow, one day a principal of a school discovered me and now am working as an art teacher there. However, it is hard to forget my experiences and that drove me to vow to do something to help others,” says Maharana.

For the past seven years Maharana’s school has also been conducting, once every two years, an exhibition-cum-sale of artworks produced by his students.

“Most of my students have made it into prestigious Art and Design colleges. Some of them have even started their own ventures. I am very proud of them,” says the artist.

“Kahan Gaya use doondo” (Find out where it is hidden) is the motto of his school. “There are many children who waste their lives by taking drugs at roadside. I seek them out and give them free guidance, art materials, venue, etc. so that realize their inner talent and get confidence to express their inner self through sketches and painting,” says the 46-year-old artist.

Students from public schools too come to study under Maharana and their works are also included in the biannual exhibition.
This year the “Seedlings” exhibition is being held from March 1 to March 5 and comprises art work of 40 children.

Art critic Suneet Chopra says, “The works reflect the hope and confidence art breeds in human beings in times of adversity and uncertainty. And efforts like these need to be
helped to get beyond the seedling stage to become contributions to our history of art and carry forward our art traditions beyond new heights and frontiers.”

Nine-year-old Trinayan Bordoloi, a class IV student, who bubbles with energy, has an avid interest in technology could not remain still for long. “However once his hidden inherent art interest was noticed by his parents who encouraged him to hone his skills and has been passionately learning the nuances of art work,” says Maharana.

Trinayan has put up a mixed media painting for the “Seedlings” exhibition. Deeksha Sharma, who is pursuing her MBBS from Jamia Hamdard is also participating in the show says, “I enjoy exploring the world of creativity and colors.” Among the 40 children whose works are being exhibited include artists as young as 7 years.

“Selling the artworks we get around Rs 8000 to Rs 10,000 which are given to the underprivileged students to help them continue their studies,” says Maharana. -PTI

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