Shades of Perseverance

Hailing from a family of artists,Varsha Kharatmal is gifted with the skill of playing with colours and creating awe-inspiring works of art with them,but she has never been able to listen to the praise that her work evokes because she is hearing and speech impaired.

Written by Swasti Chatterjee | Pune | Published:October 10, 2011 12:51 am

Varsha Kharatmal,a hearing and speech impaired artist,recently won an award from the Ministry of Art and Culture,Govt of India

Her relationship with art began from the time she could distinguish colours. Hailing from a family of artists,Varsha Kharatmal is gifted with the skill of playing with colours and creating awe-inspiring works of art with them,but she has never been able to listen to the praise that her work evokes because she is hearing and speech impaired. Recently,she won the second prize in the Folk and Tribal Art section from the Ministry of Art and Culture,Government of India,for her painting titled ‘Peshwa Couple’. It is just another feather in her cap along with awards from the All India Art Exhibition,State Art Exhibition,Maharashtra,and South Central Culture Zone,Nagpur.

“Varsha could sit with paints and brushes for hours on end. I knew she would be an artist some day,” says her father,artist Tatyaba Mane. After completing her high school in Sangli,Varsha,now 30 years old,enrolled herself in Kala Vishwa Mahavidyalaya,Sangli,for her art foundation course. But she was denied admission to an art college in Satara for a diploma in art teaching because of her inability to hear. “It was a boon in disguise. She says she is better off as an artist than a teacher,” says Ramchandra Kharatmal,her husband.

Her paintings depict a fresh colour palette – a riot of reds,yellows and oranges. “In the world of painting,sadness is denoted by the shades of grey. I never find a hint of grey in her works,” says Ramchandra,who is a national award winning artist himself.

Furthermore,her figures are calm and serene with a defined aesthetic quality. “She seldom paints about the hassles of the mind or any unease in life. Her works only represent her contentment in life,” he adds.

In the figures that she paints,the eyes are distinctly big and expressive. “Art always brings forth emotions on paper. For Varsha,her eyes are her ears and mouth. They do a lot more than just seeing. This is reflected in her paintings and thus the eyes are always very expressive,” he adds.

Despite her prowess over paints and the brush,Varsha’s hearing and speech impairment did make it a rough journey. “It was difficult for her to understand the theory of the course. Society fails to mainstream her existence even now. People look down upon her or sympathise with her. They don’t accept her,” adds Ramchandra.

Varsha speaks to the world through Ramchandra and he listens for her. The doting husband is all praise for her. “She has strength in her lines and she does fine time drawing. She perfectly understands the human anatomy which is portrayed in her work,” he says. Varsha’s paintings are the result of her imagination and she never uses a model. “And apart from being a good artist,she is the perfect homemaker,mother and wife,” Ramchandra says with a smile.

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