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It was a usual weekend for Swasti Ray when he observed a visually impaired kid behind her mother trying to feel the shape of an apple near a fruit vendor in ShahpurJat, Delhi.

 “Will he be able to know the colour as well – ‘red’ – and should we put Braille colour codes on every fruit?” The very thought motivated him to work on something that helps the blind enjoy colours and painting. And thus, ‘eyecan’ came into being reports

“Eyecan was conceptualized two years back. It was the time when I realized I have to do something real using my academic and professional skills. And as I was completely inclined towards the social form of art, I kept my emotional senses always open, which really helped me to come up with the idea of ‘eyecan’.

Swasti’s initial work of developing a basic water painting strip with Braille identifiers (named Colorise) ended in confusion and failure. “But with technical inputs from the Vice President of Amar Colony’s Institution for the Blind and Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Blind (Mumbai), I was able to adapt a Japanese colouring device ‘Mitsuro Pen’ (an electronic device which is heavy in weight and uses wax strips to melt as wax ink) into ‘eyecan ’pastels which are being used by the visually impaired in India for realizing their art dreams” says Ray.

By the end of November 2012, he had planned organizing an art exhibition to showcase the brilliant work the students had done. Everyone from his clients to his advertising company (JWT) including Gallery Art Eterne came forward to support him. Shivani Bharatwaj, a senior artist from Delhi joined the cause by teaching the children on week days as well. Finally on February 21st, 2013, they did something unimaginable – an art exhibition by blind students!

This is great, but at this point we all must be wondering “How can the blind see colour”?  Swasti’s device (pastel & drawing board) is the answer itself – “feeling is viewing”.

For these children, the sensation of touch converts the shape, size, dimensions and perspective as well into a form of imaginative drawings in mind and then they are able to express it in their own way by the use of Braille coded pastels over mess textured board. The best thing was the students themselves were feeling their painting.

“I think every individual has to do his bit. We in India devote/indulge most of our time and money to what we call ‘GOD’. We can spend a million rupees to put our children in a good B-school but we can’t pay a thousand rupees to sponsor a poor kid’s monthly education. It’s not a responsibility; it’s a necessity for being a human to know a human. I would say disabled are those who can’t help others! And the solution is simple – be one of them and think” says Ray.

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