By: Aarti Uppal Singla
Each year NOIDA authorities organizes Shilpotsav at the Stadium which is stone’s throw away from my house. Each year I’m too busy to go. This year , finding some spare time before Diwali mayhem I visited it. I went with expectation of finding the usual handicrafts and hoping to pick up some unique gifts for friends. What I least expected to come across was fine art!
As I walked past the first row of stalls, I caught sight of dozens of artworks pinned to the fabric walls of the stall. They were intriguing enough to warrant closer inspection. I walked up to them and was delighted to see dozens of paintings in acrylics and oils. In various sizes and vibrant colours they were landscapes of idyllic beaches, busy fishermen’s boats and unpaved village roads. I looked for the artist to compliment him. With a couple of buyers picking up pieces I waited for my chance. I congratulated him his work. He smiled at me and then called over his friend who asked me what I wanted. Ah! I thought , he doesn’t understand me. The artist was from Sri Lanka so language was a barrier. But I was so wrong. No man made language was the stumbling block here. This very talented artist was deaf and mute. For a minute I was stumped, being inadequate in my knowledge of sign language. But art is a language on its own. So I conversed with Nihal Sangabo Dias, the talented artist from Sri Lanka, through his friend and gestures.
He was in town for the fair and was delighted by the response his work got. He paints on canvas with oils and acrylics. He was painting all day at the stall and making one painting after another. People were placing orders for works they wanted in bigger sizes. I asked him if he’d be making another painting that I could watch. He replied to me that he was waiting for another lady who wanted to see him work and if I could wait. I was happy to. I gave him my card so we could keep in touch. He saw the word ‘Art’ on the card and asked if I painted too. I said yes and offered to show him my sketchbook. He went through it with a delightful expression. When he came across a sketch of a temple he told me that he loves to sketch outside. He rolls up his canvas, puts it in his backpack, gets on his bike and rides off to villages and beaches to paint the lovely vistas. He also memorizes the scenes to paint later. He then told me that he was not going to wait for the other lady and show me his style of painting using just his fingers and palette knife. I found his enthusiasm to share his work and one artist to another, the delight in showing his talent, very charming. I asked him if I could shoot while he worked and post the video online for our group. He was happy to oblige. If you are perplexed by my using the words asked and replied and said, don’t be. Though we did not use words it felt like a conversation.
I was privileged to see him work and would like to share it with all. You can see more of his work at https://www.facebook.com/Nihal-Sangabo-Dias-195968657140443/?fref=ts
For better resolution see here https://youtu.be/VBkSXpDIR4Y