Art helped Anu Jain cope with a rare disability, & she now seeks to spread that joy among kids
Anu Jain was born with a rare medical condition which requires her to use a wheelchair. This self-taught artist based in Bengaluru says art has helped her create a beautiful world around herself and seeks to share this joy with children.
Even as a child Anu Jain was keenly drawn to various forms of art and it was inevitable that she would pursue it seriously. Born with a rare medical condition where her arms extend until the elbows and legs until the knees. Anu was educated by her family at home for want of an inclusive school at Kharagpur, West Bengal.Her sharp mind and eagerness to learn led her to experiment with various painting mediums and she is largely self-taught.
From pencil, to water-based colors, poster, oil-pastel, even glad, she paints on different textures and objects ranging from cloth to clay. Anu says her skills were further honed by her teacher Sharmila Roy, who encouraged her to get a formal certification from the art institute, Pracheen Kala Kendra.
In art, says Anu, she has been able to create a beautiful world around herself.
Art and music has added meaning to my life, helping me to develop a positive attitude and this is the driving force that keeps me going forward. At times the mentality of people and negative attitudes of society towards people with disabilities make me think about the many barriers that need to be broken to make the world same for everyone. - Anu Jain, Art teacher
Anu says a nurturing home environment has helped her cope with the negativity she encounters. Her parents have always encouraged her love for art and today she is independent thanks to this. Her paintings are in great demand by individuals and corporates and she holds art classes for children in Bengaluru, where she is now based.
"I love working with children. They are such happy beings and bring cheer to my life", says Anu. "I start with teaching them the basics of drawing and letting them find their own way. My aim is to help them think for themselves and create ideas. I feel that children spread happiness while grownups get caught in the rut of daily lives and forget to be happy."
Anu's brother Trilok feels great pride when he sees her today. "Anu faced many challenges while growing up and she survived the struggles because of the positive state of mind she developed over the ages. It has enabled her to look at beauty in the harshest of times".
If there's one thing Anu would like to change its greater freedom of movement, something she is unable to enjoy in Bengaluru. "I cannot go out on my own as there is too much traffic here while in Kharagpur I used to go out in my electric wheelchair. Here, there are few footpaths and its a struggle for people like me when the infrastructure lacks inclusiveness," she says.