Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  

Lovely: A role model
New Year cards to win over hearts

Looking at her work, one would find it hard to believe that Lovely (her real name is Khadiza Akhter) is a tetraplegic (paralysed from the neck down). Yet this talented artist has won acclaim both here and overseas for her beautiful water colour worksusing her mouth to paint. With Christmas and New Year around the corner, her worksgreeting cards and calendarshave already hit the market, with shops such as Ananya and several corporations rapidly buying them up. New outlets are also being developed. Under an agreement with Aarong, the popular shop will sell Lovely's cards as well as wooden products of the Savar-based Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP).

The themes of Lovely's works are flowers, boats and landscapes. The flowers range from roses, tube roses and hasna hena, among others. Of late she has been painting street and village scenes, relying mostly on her imagination. Some of her works focus on the tragedy of women disfigured by acid burns.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the well-known Savar-based CRP. As Lovely maintains,' I learnt to paint after coming to CRP nine years ago.' Since then, the 17-year-old Lovely has been getting lessons and her work has been shown in many exhibitions.

Last year was an eventful time for her: she went to Germany to sell her cards and calendars at the invitation of the Friends of CRP. At the end of 2003 she also went to New Delhi to participate in the 6th International Abilympics.

This year too, Lovely has been highly productive. She has won several prizes: an honorary prize in the National Museum painting competition, first prize in the World White Stick Day, Save the Youth Forum (first prize) and Utsav Viddya Niketan (honorary prize). In a Victory Day competition at National Museum also she won a prize. Recently, she participated in a competition in the Savar Laboratory School .

All through her achievements, she has had the solid backing of CRP. Under a new agreement, the organisation provides painting materials, teaching fees and printing costs. She also gets Taka 3, 000 a month for painting, irrespective of her output.

Asked about her dream, Lovely says, 'I want to continue painting and one day be able to support my family. In future, I would like to learn to use a computer, do oil painting and build a beautiful home.' She has certainly built strong foundations for the future and her talent will take her places notwithstanding her impairment.

An idyllic village scene