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Toeing the artistic line

She usually makes figurative paintings and sometimes tries her hand at landscapes. But she has no hands. Determination, hard work, confidence and passion for art make her world go around. And not having both the arms never stopped Sheela from following her hobby. Or how else had she managed to take the hobby to the level of excellence and profession.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 00:21 IST

She usually makes figurative paintings and sometimes tries her hand at landscapes. But she has no hands.

Determination, hard work, confidence and passion for art make her world go around. And not having both the arms never stopped Sheela from following her hobby. Or how else had she managed to take the hobby to the level of excellence and profession.

On the first floor of the Lalit Kala Kendra, Sheela has two canvases ready on easels. While the third one, with the slider of the easel down to the ground level, Sheela was busy painting on. She was sitting in a chair, with a shawl draped across her shoulders, while her feet held the brush just the way a hand would hold it. She is just spontaneous in selecting colours from the palette or mixing the colours in it and then putting them on the canvas. Sheela had been a regular for several years. Sheela says, “It is not the hands but the human mind that paints”

“I am a born artist. I have been painting since I was a kid. Having or not having hands does not matter now. I am used to doing my work like this,” she says.

Sheela lost both her arms in a train accident, in Assam when she was barely four. “We were staying in Assam then but after the incident my family moved to Lucknow and since then I have been staying here,” says Sheela.

She has done her Bachelors in Fine Arts from Lucknow Arts College and at present she is working as a freelance artist in Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Aliganj, for the past 8 years.

Her teacher of five years JK Agarwal, an eminent painter says, “Sheela is like any other normal student for me. I evaluated her on the same scale that I evaluated everybody else.” He further adds, “Her paintings should be looked upon as the paintings of any other person. She wants an identity as an artist and wants to be evaluated as an artist on her merit and creativity. And as an artist I rate her as a fairly good painter and artist.”

Sheela has made innumerable paintings and has put up several solo and group exhibitions all over the country. One of her very famous exhibitions is the one that was put up in Bangalore in 2004. “My dream is to put up a solo exhibition somewhere abroad and I know I’ll do it one day,” says Sheela.

At present Sheela is staying in Lucknow with her younger brother. “I come to Lalit Kala Kendra almost everyday. It is a peaceful place where I can paint peacefully,” says Sheela

Her teacher JK Agarwal adds, “There is a lot of spontaneity in Sheela work. Her paintings reflect her inner self and her mind.”

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 00:21 IST