The painting was done more than two years ago, and not for any competition or contest. However, towards the end of last year, the painting’s creator, 14-year-old Anujath Sindhu Vinaylal, won an international award in a competition held by Shankar’s Academy of Art and Book Publishing, set up in the memory of cartoonist K Shankar Pillai. The painting called ‘My mother and the mothers in the neighbourhood’ won the award at a really bad time for the family.
Anujath’s father, Vinaylal, a designer by profession, quietly put a status on WhatsApp about his son’s winning the award just days after the passing of Sindhu, Anujath’s mother.
“She knew he got the award. The news had come earlier and she was quite happy about it. But by the time he got the certificate of recognition she had passed away. Sindhu had a heart problem,” says Vinaylal, who is from Thrissur.
The boy had a taste for art from a young age, as did his elder brother Abhyudey. He never got trained but drew and painted from his surroundings. When he was nine, he got the Clint Memorial International Award for painting. More awards followed in those early years – UN recognition in 2015 for paintings on the theme ‘We have energy’, the President’s award from the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Children’s Day 2016, among others.
But Children’s Day, three years later, proved tragic for Anujath and his family. That’s the day Sindhu left them unexpectedly. “The idea to paint on mothers came from seeing her and other women like her work, in the kitchen and the rest of the house, all day long. It’s basically a collage of the activities a mother does all day,” Anujath says.
Sindhu had liked the painting after he showed it to her. “We had stopped sending him for painting competitions some time ago, realising that the real joy came in making the artwork, not necessarily in competing. But then the Shankar Academy competition took art work in two categories – work of art that children sent, and on the spot contests. Since this painting on mothers was lying around, we thought we should send that,” Vinaylal says.
The father and son are taking this concept of getting pleasure from the process of creation to a different level. They are organising a show called ‘Such Wondrous Sights Around Me’ which will be held at the Kerala Lalithakala Academy in Thrissur in April-May 2020. “The idea is to motivate children to find joy from their artistic endeavours,” adds Vinaylal.