Friday, December 4, 2015

Lending a voice to deaf artists. By design.

Smriti Nagpal learnt to use sign language at home, while communicating with her two older siblings who were hearing impaired. She would often help out with her special ability, her friends and at the National Association of the Deaf, while pursuing her studies in business administration, and then later at work. Apart from her ability in sign language however, she combined rare sensitivity as well as business sense.

So when she met a hearing impaired artist, who was not able to reach out to the art community with his work, because of his disability, she decided to help. The result is an organization called "Atulyakala", quite simply: Art Unparalleled. It bridges this physical gap, and gets the artists to communicate with others in the field, and of course also with clients, customers, employers and suppliers.

Atulyakala sells from its website fine art prints like the one shown here, and also lifestyle products like mugs, bags and wallets. They work with artists and designers who can hear, and with customers of all types. They also hold workshops and events to create awareness about their work, and also because all of us who can hear need to be able to work with those who can't.

The amazing thing is Smriti, now 25, got all this going by age 23! She has got a lot of recognition now, specially with the under-30 young entrepreneurs' award as part of BBC's 100 inspirational women for 2015. She was chosen to interpret the Republic Day parade for the deaf community, on national television early this year.

Well, she has a lot to do. She does have her heart and head in the right place for it. For when asked by the BBC correspondent, on what advice she would give the viewers wanting to follow in her footsteps, she answered: "See few dreams, and follow them with all your heart, and the world will be right there, all yours!"

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