Art of giving


How one mother’s battle for her child inspired another to paint for a cause

For Shobhna Raj Singh, painting is not just a way of expressing her creativity but her charity as well.

The Indian from Bihar, who migrated to Sydney in 2010, recently donated 30 paintings, the sales proceeds of which will be directed to Sweety Makwana, the mother who is fighting to keep her child Twisha — who has a rare birth defect — alive. “My costs in canvas, colours and time are sponsored by my husband’s company, Global Reach,” says the artist.

“An artist gets immense satisfaction when his work is appreciated, and for me it was a moment of pride when Shah Rukh Khan autographed two of his portraits, which I made and donated for Mission ‘Twisha’. It was also a memorable moment when on his recent visit to Australia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a portrait of his which I had painted,” she says.

Painting, says Shobhna, was always her passion, and she was introduced to art very early in life by her mother. “In the summers, my mother would encourage me to sing or paint,” says Shobhna.

“Being born in a small city you don’t get many opportunities to pursue your passion and so I never got an opportunity to take up my passion professionally,” she adds.

Narrating her artistic journey she says, “Mine is a typical story of a small city girl who went to girl’s school and college. The mindset of elderly people in small cities still prevents a girl from going to art college. So, instead I did my studies in English honours and continued painting just as a hobby.”

It was only after her marriage that she was encouraged by her in-laws to follow her passion. “In India, I joined a short training program for artists to hone my skills and this was indeed the change that I was looking for. There was no stopping now and I engrossed myself in the colours of life. For the very first time in my life, I felt that this is what I want to do. I loved it and continue to love it,” says Shobhna.

While she did exhibitions in India, when she and her husband migrated to Australia in 2010, she found that since her children were grown up, she had enough time to devote to her passion. “I painted a lot but did not feel like selling my work, so I was just giving them to friends as gifts. But it was the story of Twisha and Sweety that gave me the idea of selling my work to raise money,” says Shobhna.

Shobhna is currently working on donating few paintings for ‘La Casa School for Special Needs, a charity in Mumbai. She is also working on holding an exhibition of her own work in Sydney.

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