Cartoons on Disability
By Karunakar Yenikapati
When I began to think about disability and its different aspects, I thought it would be better to represent those thoughts visually. I wanted to assert my disabled identity so as to rise above the social pressures that surround us to be normal. I think it is important to celebrate disability in the same way that being woman and being dalit have been celebrated by the feminist and dalit movements.
I am Karunakar Yenikapati, a teacher by profession, and an artist at heart. But lastly a person with physical disability. I am not sure whether my physical disability made me an artist or prevented me from achieving perfection in this regard. I contracted polio at the age of three, paralyzing 80% of my body. The immediate personal grief of my parents was lamented in my early doodling. They encouraged me to draw as they thought it was a compensation for my disability. My family, relatives, neighbours and the society around me tried to find and highlight my talent. Now, I know that I was not better than any other normal child at that time. I used to hear people say that God compensates for what he had taken. Thus I ventured into art and tried hard to learn the basics on my own; I experimented. This didn’t take me anywhere. I didn’t know if I was doing any better or not. The myth and aura around “being born with a talent” seemed to have made me ignorant and somehow lazy. It took so much time to know all these things. Now, I am at a stage where I am re-assessing myself to know how much of an artist I really am. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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