Hearing, speech impaired teen speaks through art
January 21 2021 09:10 PM
Arjun Suvaraj; Venice, also known as the floating city, is arguably one of the most picturesque citi
Arjun Suvaraj; Venice, also known as the floating city, is arguably one of the most picturesque cities in the world

For Arjun Suvaraj drawing has been a tool for expressing himself ever since his childhood. With the passage of time, he has not only mastered his language but has also made it more creative and artistic.

Nineteen year old Arjun suffers from profound hearing loss and impaired speech.

Since he cannot hear and speak, he was introduced to drawing for learning and communicating.

The Doha resident has fast improved his drawing and painting skills that can soon earn him recognition as a visual artist.

Arjun’s parents – Rajesh Babu and Shobha Rajesh – were very concerned about his health and future after they discovered his disability when he was eight months.

However, they are now proud of their son as his creative talent is fast being appreciated. Arjun too is eager to further enhance his talent.

“We were extremely worried when we first learnt of his hearing loss. We then found a school for special kids in Chennai, India, where we used to live before moving to Doha in 2011. It was an early intervention school for hearing impaired children. They taught the children with the help of pictures and drawing. That also helped me teach my son through drawing,” said Shobha while speaking to Gulf Times.

Arjun, who has passed his 10th grade examination from the Ideal Indian School, has always been helped by his parents, particularly mother.

“I am a science graduate with electronics as major. However, I got a master degree in special education for my son and started teaching at a school. I have now left my job to focus on my son,” said Shobha. The couple's elder son is studying for a university degree in India.

Arjun has been attending art classes at the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).

“We always knew he is very good at drawing as family members and friends love his sketches," his parents said.

Speaking about his school education, Shobha revealed that "CBSE students have to opt to study two languages. Being a hearing impaired student, it was hard for him to listen and memorise any language other than English. He could therefore not select a second language."

"Arjun selected painting as an optional subject that we can say is his real mother-tongue and scored 94 marks," his proud mum said.

"Arjun has been taking part in different art competitions and have won many inter-school contests and Indian Cultural Center organsied tournaments,” Shobha pointed out.

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The parents are hopeful that their son will take art as a career option.“I have seen him struggle to get through the 10th grade exams. After a lot of research and thinking, we decided to let him do what he enjoys the most. He wanted to go for higher studies, get a job and earn a living. We have convinced him that he can make art his career. Since then, he has been looking for the costly paintings and tries to replicate them with his own creativity. Currently, he is going for art classes at the MIA, where he got admitted without regular registration.

"Arjun is a fast learner,” said Shobha.

Arjun takes his creative strain very seriously. “When he is doing a painting or sketch, he will not look around. He cannot be distracted easily. He follows a schedule. While painting he is totally focused. His handwriting is also very good,” added his father.

The young artist is more into portraits. “He started with portraits of individuals and still he likes that. Arjun says that he wants to have a real face in his paintings. He has been doing drawing, acrylic and now oil paintings. He desires to draw huge portraits. He also likes wall paintings and murals.”

Arjun's parents are thankful that their son is in Qatar, where there is huge recognition and appreciation for art.“We already see a lot of appreciation for his creativity here. His MIA classes are free with no fees charged. I think he can learn more and evolve into a mature artist in Qatar. Hopefully, in future he can get opportunities to exhibit his work here as there are many galleries and museums,” Rajesh said.

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