fbpx
26/05/2020 The Communication Science magazine

Visualizing the Unseen: An Interview with Shivani Bharadwaj

The story of a powerful woman; Shivani Bharadwaj, and how she manages to light a hope in her dearest student’s life with the help of arts.


Life used to be smooth for Shivani Bhadarwaj. Born and raised in India, Shivani had a strong interest in journalism and medicine. She decided to pursue a career that would take her to the headquarters of National Geographic, the world’s conservation powerhouse. But bleak news followed. Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – a chronic inflammatory disorder that attacks the joints – she had to abandon her plans. After 17 years of having serious difficulties walking, she went through a painful knee transplant. This changed everything for her. 

She thought to herself: ‘what can I do now?’ Art seemed like the way forward. After going through the process of self-teaching, she became an artist, participating in various workshops, camps, and exhibitions throughout India. But something was missing. She started thinking about ways to help people. Her empathetic instinct pushed her to strive for more and to give back to society despite her own afflictions. That’s when she decided to join Inside Me

What’s Inside Me?

Inside Me is an initiative that aims to help blind children visualize the world around them and motivate them to draw what they have never seen before. Driven by the overwhelming fact that more than 30% of the blind worldwide are Indian, the organization has sought to help them through creative expression, being able to communicate and form part of the visual world through their other senses. 

Inside Mes ultimate goal is to incorporate drawing as a subject for students of visual impairment in India, starting with New Delhi’s 19 schools that serve the blind. This will not only help exploit the children’s creative potential but open up professional opportunities for them in the form of paid volunteers and teachers. 

Shivani perceives her job is to guide the children: “we use drawing as a medium and crayons as a tool.” She feels happy, she says, when she sees a child “holding a crayon for the first time, [driven by the] curiosity to draw whatever strikes their ears. It may be the Yamuna River, a school van, a cricket, a camera, or pollution.” 

Her initiative is innovative in addressing the inclusion of the blind in society.  By participating in different art festivals and fairs, she states, “we exhibit their works and sell them. Inside Me has future plans for their employment. By helping them get funding, they can establish separate art platforms, where they can create and sell their works.”

Isabella Ibanez-Inside Me hires senior citizens to teach children.

The Importance of Art 

Both creatively and professionally, Shivani aims to create opportunities for the children through Inside Me. When I ask her about the importance of art in her life, she responds beautifully, reminding me of Frida Kahlo’s journey: There was a phase when I was talking to four walls. I was in tremendous pain. But I sailed through. My body could not move but my mind could travel everywhere”. Her brush and colors took her where she wanted to go. Art “has calmed me and defined me”, she says.

Expression has power to ease your within turmoil, and art gives this gateway.” 

As a response to my question about her mission, she asks another: “If art is essential in our society, then why are we blind towards visually impaired children?” 

Her reflection stems from the concern that these children have all subjects in their school, except drawing. How could they learn the earth, sun and moon are round if they don’t have a notion of what round is, or how to draw it? This leads her to firmly believe that visual arts improve academic performance, helping them go through the standardized tests. By making an effort to include them in society, the limitations placed on their education can begin to blur, she comments. 

Isabella Ibanez- 15-year-old Sonali draws an oval for the first time.

 

The Children 

Arman, a young boy, grabs a blank page and draws two eyes. On the side, he draws the body of a little bird. “This is very touching”, Shivani adds, “he has no idea about perspective, but has the idea that a bird has two eyes.” For me, it’s even metaphoric. Sometimes sight can be separated from the physical body. 

“Coming into contact with art, Inside Me’s children draw in their own style, freely.”

 Isabella Ibanez – Anirudh, 15 years old. His work was given as a gift to the French Minister of Culture at the French Embassy in New Delhi.

Bhagwati, a fifteen-year-old girl from Sadiq Nagar Blind School, has troubles recognizing a circle, even though she has been taught geometry. Another twenty-three-year-old boy from the Amar Colony, Shankar, cannot recognize the concept of what ‘rectangular’ means. 

“This is the real problem”, Shivani reflects. Schools that don’t make efforts to make them perceive the visual through their other senses are leaving them out: “a major impediment to the intellectual development of the blind derives from prejudice within society and the limitations we sometimes have placed on their education.” 

Development starts from the root: forming motivated and strong individuals, despite the impairments they may have, is the source of all progress. Art has always had a redeeming power. Through Inside Me, children can harvest that power from within and use it as an essential force to propel them forward. 

With a warm heart, she speaks about the potential this has on her own will to keep going: “their happiness, love, and dedication are my strength”. 

 

Cover: Isabella Ibañez – Joy; Shivani with her ‘naughty students’.  

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

An Ode to Us

26/05/2020

26/05/2020

Kyle shares an uplifting reflection on why younger generations should be acknowledged for their effort in fighting against the spread of CO-VID19.

Lucifer: Bringer of Divine Epiphanies

21/05/2020

21/05/2020

Andrada dives into the infernal territory as she discusses the meaning behind the show Lucifer.

The Art of Photography in the Days of Corona: Interview with Berk Kır

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

In this article, Melike interviews photographer Berk Kır about his art in the days of corona.

GRLSWIRL: Girls Power Swirls On Four Wheels

18/05/2020

18/05/2020

Cecilia tells all about this revolutionary all-girls skateboarding community GRLSWIRL, that has gone worldwide.

The TikTok Challenges You Should Try Right Now

15/05/2020

15/05/2020

In this article, Hope gives helpful tips on how to entertain yourself with the newest trend, TikTok.

Call Me Maybe

11/05/2020

11/05/2020

Do you remember what it is like to make a phone call? Do you even remember how to make one? Margarete refreshes your memory and gives some practical advice to keep in touch the primal way.

Talk Show Hosts Fighting a Lonely Audience-less Battle in Quarantined Homes

10/05/2020

10/05/2020

The big Late Night Talk show hosts had to shift their programs to their private homes. Medium explains how they struggle but also succeed with the absence of live audiences.

Confettiregen: het boek waarvan je hoopt dat iedereen het zal lezen

08/05/2020

08/05/2020

Confettiregen is het nieuwe boek van Splinter Chabot waarin hij vertelt over zijn eigen coming-out. Loïs vertelt over het boek en hoopt dat iedereen het gaat lezen.

Quarantine Photocolumn Special #1: Work Stations

06/05/2020

06/05/2020

For Medium Magazine's first collaborative photocolumn, the theme is work stations. As students are working and doing their coursework from home during the pandemic, they have to make use of what is available to them. Writers, editors and the editorial board (who recently won the Medium Pub quiz), all pitch in to show where their work stations at home.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Activism

05/05/2020

05/05/2020

This article explores the positive side of Fandoms, specifically The Harry Potter Alliance. By asking themselves, ‘What would Albus do?’ Harry Potter fans are making a difference.

Backstage Interview With Gilda Bruno

03/05/2020

03/05/2020

Gilda, former Audiovisuals Chief for Medium, shares her experience on what it has been like to work for DAZED Media as part of her internship placement.

15 stages of a short-lived relationship according to ‘Dedicated’

02/05/2020

02/05/2020

A year after its release, Danny takes another look at Carly Rae Jepsen's vivacious album 'Dedicated', which covers a truly recognizable lovestory.

Digital Proctoring: A New Era in Student Surveillance

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

The shift to online education has changed the learning experience of students from all academic levels. As higher-education institutions insist on maintaining exam evaluations, this calls for digital proctoring. Although digital proctoring may not sound menacing, Karina delves into its implications and potential privacy breaches.

The War Zone of K-Pop Twitter

01/05/2020

01/05/2020

While many enjoy Korean Pop only for the music, the fans on Twitter seem to focus on everything else. Emma provides an outline of the latest K-Pop drama.

Kanye West – The Show Must Go On, Even When It Literally Can’t

30/04/2020

30/04/2020

And even during this weird time Kanye West makes sure the show goes on. Jorrit gives you the details to the latest news featuring Kanye West.

mersin escort mersin escort mersin escort canlı tv konya escort
mersin escort