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Adorable Aaradhya Salin Nair is using her time in isolation to continue making the planet a better place through her artistic upcycling skills. She is also encouraging others to follow suit.
The seven-year-old Bahrain Indian School student enjoys transforming leftover toilet rolls, cardboard boxes, plastic containers and old paper into colourful works of art using water colours, poster colours and colour pencils as well.
“I love to paint on everything, especially on items that nobody needs to help reduce waste,” said Aaradhya, who lives in Adliya. “I can do whatever I want using these items and my mum will not get mad at me for wasting or spoiling them. You can paint these things that no one wants and make them look beautiful.”
Upcycling, which is defined as ‘reusing discarded objects or material in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original’, has flourished in popularity especially during these troubled times when people are stuck in doors with little to do.
The concept of living more sustainably has increased with upcycling taking over fashion runways and also helping residents inject new life into old and tattered items found at home. Upcycling can vary from giving an existing item a new paint job to creating a completely new look. It could also be reinventing an item so that it is used for a completely different purpose.
Since people are self-isolating, perhaps it’s time to take a page out of Aaradhya’s book and get creative.
“We have only one planet so let’s do our bit by reducing the waste, turning it into something very beautiful and spreading awareness about the environment,” explained Aaradhya, who participated in author Sarah Clarke’s Trash to Treasure event themed around up-cycling old t-shirts. “Let’s make our planet a beautiful place to live and spread positivity and goodness. I love to create from my imagination and make everything beautiful and happy.”
She does this by painting pretty pictures of happy homes, vibrant flowers and of people. She also spreads joy by creating cards for her loved ones and teachers.
The creative child, who dreams of one day being a military physician and a famous artist with her own dance YouTube channel, picked up her passion for painting from her mum Rekha, 42, who is an artist and illustrator.
Rekha comes from an accounting background and worked in a senior level at a Fortune 500 company for almost 10 years before putting her career on hold to care for her son.
She said: “I was travelling around the globe. It was a dream job. However, nine years ago when my son was born, we had to make a tough call of quitting my job as my little baby needed me the most. But that sudden void created from working full time and crazy hours to suddenly staying home all day was something I couldn’t handle. I reverted to what I always loved as a child – painting. What started off as just a pastime soon turned into my passion.”
Rekha finds art to being an excellent form of expression and her most preferred mediums include acrylic, water colour and digital art.
“Painting and sketching is very unwinding and like therapy to me,” she said. “I work in pretty much all mediums except oil paints. I also work with pencils, charcoals and soft pastels to paint on fabrics and glass.”
She is inspired by nature and everyday life. Rekha added: “I love to capture the beauty around me. Birds, florals and cups are my most favourite subjects to paint. I also love to feature beautiful and quirky moments in life. I want to share stories through my little illustrations wherever possible. Being able to bring to life what is on somebody’s mind is what truly excites me.”
For more than a year now, Rekha has been working on a book about a flawed coffee cup. The idea came about after she had casually showed Sarah, who is the founder of Baloos Buddies, her doodling sketchbook that boasted drawings of all kinds of cups.
“Sarah instantly suggested why not write a book about the coffee cup,” Rekha explained. “The book is about a coffee cup that is beautiful but is flawed. His journey to explore the world and how he finally accepts his flaws is what makes him so special.
“The message I am trying to convey is that imperfections are what make YOU so special. Be yourself and don’t try to be like someone else.”
Her book, entitled Kapi- the Coffee Cup, will be a picture book for children aged three to eight.
Find out more about Aaradhya’s art and Rekha’s upcoming book by following @illustrate_daily on Instagram.