Titiksha, Celebrating Artists with Special Needs and Neuro Diversities
“Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don’t fit into boxes.” They open new avenues for themselves by riding on their determination and consistent hard work with a vision. That’s what some world-renowned artists are known for in the field of creativity. Apart from being celebrated artists, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Shreekant Dubey, Neelesh Ganesh, Amita Dutta, and CV Surendran have not let their physical or neuro challenges dampen their spirit of life and colours. Some of them have passed on, living still in the artistic masterpieces they had painted.
Tititksha, the art exposition curated to give exposure and encouragement to artists with disabilities, was unveiled at Ishatvam on July 3 with a successful bang.
The lifestyle store by Preeti and Vishal Trehan buzzed with footfall appreciating the initiative and the beautiful art pieces displayed at Ishatvam gallery up to July 10. The exuberating panel of women who got the show and the cause alive- Preeti Trehan, Meher Sarid, Shivani Gupta, Preeti Johar and Vineeta Jerath in association with Suburb, a well-known Gurgaon magazine for over a decade seemed excited to watch its successful unveiling.
Titiksha opened for vernissage with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp in the presence of talented artists with neuro diversities and special needs. The esteemed guests for the evening included Sunita Yadav, Deputy Mayor Gurugram, Dr Niru Kumar Padamshree 2021, Dr Roma Kumar Clinical psychologist, Krishna Das Principal Pallavanjali- school for special needs, and reputed artist Nidhi Bhatia with the esteemed panel involved in curating Tititksha. The panel of judges behind the show come from a coveted background- Preeti Rajinder Johar, CEO of Family of Disabled; Shivani Gupta, National award winner diversity and inclusion consultant; Meher Sarid, artist, wedding planner of international repute & renowned stylist, Preeti Trehan director Ishatvam India has a diverse background of interior designing and hospitality, and Vineeta Jerath co-founder editor Suburb and chairperson women empowerment, FII.
Dr Niru Kumar, recipient of Padma Shri from president Kovind for social work, graced the occasion with her presence. A medical doctor and gender diversity consultant, she is the founder of “Ask Insights”, a Diversity and Inclusion Consulting Organization. Speaking at the inaugural event, she said, “I want to unlearn what my father taught me, “to move out of the way if someone else tries to climb up your way. Give way to the person.” But I won’t be able to suggest the same to you. Never change your direction, or stop to give way to someone trying to come in the way of your dreams and work passion. We all have to move forward and find our way.”
Excited about the initiative, Preeti Trehan said, “There are some masterpieces on display. It’s been a heart-warming response that we received for the category from pan India. Our youngest artist Pranav Aggarwal with a disability, is nine years old, and the eldest senior citizen G-Prabhakar, is aged 82 years. We have received more than 100 pieces of art from across the country. Honestly, on the one hand, we are very moved with the response received; on the other hand, we realise the vacuum that needs to be filled for the immense talent that lays explored, heaving because of lack of opportunities to display.”
Meher Sarid, the panellist, a renowned artist, added, “The screening of the paintings took us by surprise. From entries received under the two sub-categories- under 18 years and 18 years and above some artworks are stunning in their fineness of intricate work and colour harmony. Some artworks received have come from artists with speech and hearing impairments. The paintings have depth, a story and visible hours of hard work in creating that layers of paint.
I am looking forward to holding the artist who needs some guidance. It’s been a fulfilling experience to put the exposition together.”
Family of Disabled
Preeti Rajender Johar, CEO of Family of Disabled, was established by her father Rajender Johar, in 1992. She comes with a long stint of working with special needs people. The NGO beneath her wings has many artists with disabilities in its gamut. “Despite government provision to provide free education to disabled children under 18, less than one per cent of disabled children have access to education. Unfortunately, neither parents nor society encourages the education of disabled children. The condition worsens if the family is economically weak or the child is a girl. At FOD, we strive to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and assist them in becoming self-reliant. The need of the hour calls for their inclusion in society and not compartmentalise them and their families. More initiatives like Tititksha are required to bridge the gap”, said Preeti emphatically.
No Looking Back
No Looking Back, an autobiography of Shivani Gupta, one of the panellists of Titiksha, is a live example and inspiration to many with her never say die attitude. When she was in her early twenties, coming back from a party, the fatal accident changed Shivani’s life forever. She woke up in the hospital the following day with her collapsed spine and dreams. Paralysed neck down and wheelchair-bound, it took Shivani years of pain, struggle and determination to regain control of her life and body, to demand and receive respect from the world. Present at the preview, Shivani was overwhelmed looking at the paintings and interacting with the artists and their families. “The artworks on display are works of hard work, determination and focus by the artists suffering from physical and neuro challenges. We have received paintings from people suffering from either one or multiple disorders like speech and hearing damage, down syndrome, polio, autism, lobster hand, limb disabilities and more. There goes a lot in such cases within families with special needs individuals. It’s an ongoing journey of despair where opportunities like Titiksha come as a ray of hope and joy,” she said.
Shivani was presented with various awards for her indomitable spirit including- The NCEPRD – Shell Helen Keller, the CavinKare Ability Mastery award and the NeerjaBhanot award. She is an illustrious recipient of the National Award instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment presented to her by the former President of India – Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
Explaining the word Titiksha, Vineeta Jerath, co-founder of Suburb and Chairperson (CSR) women empowerment for Federation of Indian Industry, says it’s a Sanskrit word meaning forbearance, patience, and forgiveness with love. Sankaracharya, in his Vivekachudamani, defines Titiksha as a character by which we humans do not complain against existing conditions nor make an adverse remark about our situations. And not even get agonised about it. It implies withdrawal from a temptation to retaliate—a total absence of the sense of vengeance. Importantly the word denotes an absence of any distress in mind because of external conditions. The word Titiksha fitted perfectly for the cause of the art exposition. There is a lot to be done to create opportunities for special needs to bridge the gap and make them a part of an inclusive society.”
Talking about the concept of Titiksha, the panel involved feels immensely satisfied with the outcomes and response from the artists and the onlookers. “We enjoyed curating the show and experienced a greater joy putting it. It’s been immense learning for each of us here,” concluded Preeti Bhatia Trehan.