Free Press Journal

Her portraits speak volumes about lust for life


BHOPAL : For the past three months, Suchita A Manale, a 32-year-old painter from city, is immersed in creating a series of works on acid attack victims. She has been working so hard just to complete her works on varied mediums, including water colour, pen and ink on paper and zinc by the end of this month and put them for exhibition in October.

What makes her works unique is that unlike others, she does not just want to highlight the stark and hideous side of the horrendous crime, but also hope and positivity. Her paintings thus narrate the stories of how some women victims did not allow the attacks to tear their heart and mind and rather, led a life with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.

“I know at least two victims, who fought back instead of turning themselves into living corpses. Laxmi, an acid attack victim is successfully running an NGO at Lucknow and another victim Rashimi Qureshi is now a model working in New Delhi,” she says.

Suchita, who hails from Latur (Maharashtra) and a winner of Young Artist Scholarship instituted by the ministry of culture of the Government of India, says, “No one has the right to disfigure a beautiful creation of god. Such persons deserve to be hanged.”

However, she finds it heartening that, unlike in the past acid attack victims no longer feel sad about it or try to hide the scars that the attackers leave on their faces. “Earlier, they used to wear earrings, cover their faces or even wore burquas to keep their disfigured faces hidden. Now, it is not so and it is right also. After all, why should they feel ashamed? It is the scum of the earth who do such things and it is they who should hang their heads in shame,” she says.

Suchita has always had an interest in women’s issues, especially the ones involving attack on their person or their dignity. She had used the brush to express her agony over the infamous Nirbhaya case as also over incidents of sexual violence against children.

She says the idea of painting acid victims took shape in her mind about three years back when she was recuperating from a leg injury she had sustained in a bad fall from the stairs. “I realised how it feels when a part of your body becomes dysfunctional”.

Before embarking upon her work she did detailed documentation of acid attack cases, did case studies and met with the victims. “I wanted that my works should portray what they feel and go through,” she says.

She is preparing 15-20 works, which she later intends to create in ceramics and installation too. All her works will be monochrome. “I do not want colours to distract attention from the inner beauty of my subjects,” she says.