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Differently abled breaks barriers with her art

Though attacked by polio, Gunavathy Chandrasekaran didn’t give up on her dreams. She learned the art of quilling and runs an initiative that’s been appreciated by TN government.

Differently abled breaks barriers with her art


Gunavathy Chandrasekaran  had a polio attack when she was two and subsequently developed limping gait due to the shortening of one of her lower limbs. Because of this, she had to get married at the age of 16. An art lover, she decided to explore some new forms of artwork and discovered quilling accidentally.

She decided to create some products with quilling papers and that led her to explore her artistic talent. Now 42, Gunavathy runs a successful initiative called Guna’s Quilling that sells beautiful handmade products like jewellery, wall arts, greeting cards, miniatures, company logo’s and more. In a chat with DT Next, the mother of two opens up about not giving up on her ambitions, and why differently-abled should break out of the shackles of a restrictive environment.

“Though I was married off at a young age, I wasn’t upset or angry about that. Even though I was a typical homemaker, I was eager to do something in life and relied on my intuition. I have two daughters and also became a grandmother recently. I decided to learn quilling a couple of years ago because I wanted to be financially independent and also prove that differently-abled can do wonders. Quilling is more than a hobby for me, it provided me an identity,” says Gunavathy, who hails from Chinnalapatti village in Dindigul district.

One of the members in the Quilling Guild, UK, she has been invited to various places for guest lectures on becoming a successful entrepreneur. She also gives motivational speeches and organises quilling workshops at schools and colleges in Tamil Nadu. Being a social entrepreneur, Gunavathy believes that it is important to support women, especially those living in rural areas.

“In today’s age, it’s important for a woman to be financially independent — it increases her self-respect and makes her more confident to face any situations in life. The simple art of quilling helped me recognise my innate talent and likewise, it is essential for every woman to understand her strengths. Moreover, I wanted to help specially-abled people learn a craft that will open up different possibilities,” shares the self-taught artist.

Her extraordinary talent garnered her several awards from the State government and private organisations. She exhibits her products at expos in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, and The Craft Council of Tamil Nadu and the Craft Council of India often invite her to put up stalls at their exhibitions. Out of her many products, the paper quilling Ganesha has got her a lot of admirers.

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