Smriti Nagpal’s efforts to give fame to deaf artists positioned her in the BBC’s inspirational women list, 2015

smriti nagpal

Smriti Nagpal grew up with two of her hearing impaired Siblings. But as it says love has no language; so it did not stop the three of them from communicating their feelings with each other. Smriti learned the sign language to be the voice of her siblings. Smriti was well aware about the problems faced by the deaf people. She always wanted to do something for the community and in an attempt to create opportunities for deaf artists; Smriti started Atulyakala, a for-profit social enterprise that is creating opportunities for deaf artists.

I grew up with two elder siblings who are 10 years older than me. The only way to communicate with them was to learn sign language that sort of became my mother tongue. Learning it was very important for my family since I was the bridge between my parents and my siblings, says Smriti Nagpal.

At the age of 16, Smriti volunteered at the National Association of Deaf (NAD). A few years later, she got a call for an audition in a TV channel and she was selected. At that time she was studying Business Administration too. So, along with her studies Smriti became responsible for the Hearing Impaired Morning Bulletin for the Doordarshan Network. That job gave her a lot of opportunities and chance to understand her passion to solve problems in the deaf community.

Smriti Nagpal was motivated to take an action, when she heard a story about a talented artist, having a masters’ degree in art, but he was doing manual work in an NGO. Together with her friend Harshit, Smriti Nagpal decided to help hearing impaired artist and founded Atulyakala. Atulyakala is a for-profit social enterprise that let deaf artists to grow, learn, share and live a life of dignity and pride. They make profit from selling online and offline art pieces done by hearing impaired artists.

I met a senior artist who had a masters’ degree in art. Unfortunately, he was working in an NGO doing manual work. His talent was completely wasted! I came back home and did some research and knew that I had to do something about helping artists who are hearing impaired. So together with my friend Harshit, I decided to start Atulyakala. That artist who I met at the NGO joined our project, says Smriti Nagpal.

Atulyakala has two lines of business and a social mission. It sells lifestyle products like bags, journals and art frames that are designed by deaf artists in collaboration with a hearing artist. There’s also a design studio that takes up client projects related to branding, design and illustration for publishing houses. They also conduct events about inclusion and spread awareness about sign language.

Smriti Nagpal’s work is indeed inspiring enough, for which she was counted in the list of BBC’s ‘inspirational women for 2015’. She was the youngest Indian woman on BBC’s 100 Women in 2015 list. Smriti Nagpal has made Atulyakala a sustainable business, but what is more soothing to eyes is to see the artists leading a dignified life.

 

Image Credit: deccan