Through his art, Ganesh Kumar spreads positivity and happiness to the world
49-year-old Ganesh Kumar was born to be an artist. Kumar, who paints with his mouth, has over 5,000 paintings to his credit and has inspired hundreds of people with his skills.
Born to a poor family in Kannur, Kerala, Kumar was diagnosed with polio when he was a few months old. His parents could not afford his treatment which came up to thousands of rupees every month.
Since he had five siblings, one of whom is also a disabled person, Kumar had to keep aside his dreams of school education. That is how he stepped into the world of colours and paintings.
Entry into world of art
A graduate in English literature through home schooling, Kumar started drawing and painting when he was hardly three years old. Since his legs and hands did not have movement, Kumar was usually confined to one place. When he was eight years old, he started attempting to draw with his mouth. And yes, he succeeded too! Without any professional help, Kumar ventured into the beautiful world of paintings and drawings.
Since his father could not afford to buy him paints or brushes, Kumar managed with whatever colours he could get a hold of. He remembers how his elder brother’s textbook was his first main drawing book!
Kumar’s life took a turn when he became part of the Association of Foot and Mouth Painting Artists, which is an international organization based in Switzerland. He had better access to paints, could introduce his work at exhibitions and even build a career with his talents.
Thanks to the support from his family, Kumar could move forward in life despite all odds. He has already taught painting to hundreds of children with and without disabilities.
‘Niram’ and ‘Fly Without Wings’
When Kumar decided to take up his art as a profession, he knew that he needed a bigger and wider space to experiment with his skills. So in 1996, he brought a new house in Kannur city which is now his art abode! He has named his house Niram which means colours in Malayalam. One part of his house is completely kept aside for teaching students and exploring his skills. Kumar also holds dance and music classes at ‘Niram’.
During one of his travels, he met a person who gave him the idea of Fly Without Wings. Disabled people from across India come together once every year at ‘Niram’. The programme usually lasts for a week. They discuss about their love, art, poems and life. Over 100 disabled people are part of this venture. Kumar clearly states that this programme has helped improve the mental well-being of many people with disabilities!
Basically, we do a lot of motivational talks at this event. Nothing negative is discussed. I believe every person has their own life experiences. The quality of your life depends on how you make use of it. It might be hard to overcome negatives in your life. But once you relieve yourself from all that, you feel a sense of freedom and also a sense of being independent. Trust me, that feels great!- Ganesh Kumar, Artist
Kumar loves exploring his skills. He started off by drawing and painting gods and goddesses. Now, he draws surrealistic drawings, impressionist paintings, landscapes and abstract paintings to name a few. Kumar says that his journey to know more about art and paintings is never ending.
Eby N Joseph owns the art gallery By Eby at Bengaluru. Kumar’s paintings are often exhibited at this art gallery. Joseph, who himself is an artist, is also an ardent fan of Kumar’s paintings and his attitude towards life.
“From Kumar I learnt that a painting is not made by a person’s hand. It is made from their soul. Your hand and mouth are just instruments to bring out what you see in the mind. We all tend to complain about many things in life. But after observing Kumar, I understood that life is all about having a positive approach in spite of what you have or what you don’t. He is a torch bearer to artists with and without disabilities”, says Joseph.
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