**Bhubaneswar: ** A large crowd gathered to see Manoj Bhingare, a 30-year-old hand and mouth painter as he painted Lord Ganesha with much ease at the Anjali Festival, The joy and happiness on his face as he held the paint brush with his toes and painted in pure bliss was something that captured the hearts of all who watched him.
At Anjali Children’s Festival recently, visitors were met by the differently abled artist who had no hands but painted professionally with the brush held in the mouth / foot.
He was disabled in body but not in spirit.
This painter from Surat, Gujarat lost both his hands when he was only in Std V. Completely broken down for about an year, he joined a school for disabled and learned to use his toes and mouth for the execution of daily routine chores such as brushing teeth, holding a spoon, or combing hair. He started using his toes to write and gradually started painting.
In 1999, he got the prestigious National Bal Shree award in painting which inspired him to get a Fine Arts degree from CN College, Ahmedabad. Presently, he is a member of Indian Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (IMFPA) and nowadays teaches aspiring painters in Ahmedabad how to paint.
“Anjali Festival is one of its kind and I am happy and thankful to be able to showcase my talent here this year. Shruti Mohapatra, its founder is a visionary and is trying to create awareness amongst people regarding the disabled in the mainstream society,” said Bhingare regarding the children’s festival held recently in the capital city.
Painting for the last 10-12 years, he earns his livelihood through his paintings and lives in Surat with his parents, wife and child. He loves to paint portraits, abstracts and modern art.
“We are very proud of him. He has picked up the strings of life and now on his path to success. I attribute his success to the teachers who always encouraged him in school and his senior and guru, Manjibhai Ramani, who has always inspired him to move forward in life,” said an overwhelming and proud Gopal Bhingare, Manoj’s father.
Aiming for a solo exhibition in India and abroad, his loss of arms was overshadowed by the kind of paintings he managed to create with his hand and mouth in the Festival.
Gopal want all the disabled people to get inspired by looking at them and they should not give up hope in life as anything and everything is possible.
“Travelling across India and inspiring people makes me feel proud that I did not give up saying that I am an invalid,” informed the much-abled Manoj.