Bindu Art School opens a gallery space in Mamallapuram

Work by artists from the art school
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Werner Dornik first visited India in 1977 during the hippie revolution. His purpose: live and love. But life had different plans for the 18-year-old Australian national. He happened to visit Varanasi and encountered people with leprosy for the first time. Ostracised by society, they were forced to beg on the streets.

A year later, he returned to India with a vision to help them. He wanted to capture the essence of Varanasi through photography and in turn sell the images in the West to fund medical treatments for people with leprosy. It was then that he met Padma Venkatraman, an activist helping rehabilitate those with the condition.

The initiative has transformed their lives, rescuing them from the streets, and turning them into artists who tell their stories through their work

The initiative has transformed their lives, rescuing them from the streets, and turning them into artists who tell their stories through their work
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

Padma and Werner came together to start the Bindu Art Trust and eventually set up an art school at the Leprosy Colony in Bharatapuram, near Chengalpattu, where he trained members in drawing and painting.  

Artists from Bindu Art School, that has now completed 19 years, had their first exhibition at Apparao Gallery in Chennai in 2006, which was a huge success. Werner travelled with their work across the world and was also instrumental in taking a few of the artists to Europe to meet some of the buyers.

They now have a permanent gallery for their work at Mamallapuram. The initiative has transformed their lives, rescuing them from the streets, and turning them into artists who tell their stories through their work.

The 500 sq ft space, located at Othavadai Cross Street 5, has over 300 works of art on display. The paintings are priced from ₹2,000 to ₹9,000. The gallery is open from 5 .30pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am to 1pm, 5.30pm to 9pm on weekends. For details, call 7395686077.

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