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From clothes hooks to art exhibition

Indian-origin Kiran Valmiki will exhibit his first collection of classical Indian dance paintings at Birmingham's contemporary art gallery.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 19:45 IST
UK Bureau
UK Bureau
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A black country assembly worker is set to turn his dreams into reality when he switches from making clothes hangers to hanging classical Indian paintings at his first exhibition at Number Nine the Gallery, Birmingham.

Indian-origin Kiran Valmiki, will see his life turn full circle when he exhibits his first collection of classical Indian dance paintings from March 15 to April 2, 2006 at Birmingham's premier contemporary art gallery.

Valmiki, a factory worker since his arrival in England in 1983 was born into a family of artists from Punjab in India. His father owned an art studio where he helped to make huge vibrant banners promoting Indian films but he only started painting again when persuaded to do so by a local art dealer.

48-years-old from Smethwick, Valmiki 's first collection brings together his two greatest passions - art and dance. Since childhood, having been inspired by classical Indian films, Valmiki always wanted to be a dancer but family scorn prevented him taking up his first love.

Instead Valmiki took to dancing in secret and painting scenes from his favourite films; even today he can often be found dancing to classical Indian music and feeling each pose before applying it to canvas.

He spent six years learning and honing his technique from Sobha Singh - arguably Punjab's greatest artist - before moving to England where he was forced to abandon his dreams in order to provide for his family. Even during this period Valmiki held on to his art by painting religious scenes on walls and ceilings in Indian temples across the country.

Bhabinder Kumar of Chintifineart and the art dealer who rediscovered Valmiki's extraordinary talent, said, "Valmiki was very down when I first met him, he felt life had treated him unfairly. On one hand it had created in him a great gift and on the other he was unable to pursue it.

"Since he started painting again he has had a burst of energy and new hope as he relives his dreams. His love for dance is evident in his work as is his meticulous attention to detail".

Lee Benson, owner of Number Nine the Gallery, added, "In his paintings you can really see Valmiki's passion for dance. The images give you a real sense of movement, feeling and emotion. It's a gift very few artists have and I'm genuinely excited about exhibiting Valmiki's work."

The Art of Kiran Valmiki is on display at Number Nine the Gallery, 9 Brindleyplace, Birmingham from Thursday (March 16) to Sunday (April 2, 2006).

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 19:45 IST