They win Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award
Two young siblings, who hail from the port city, are creating waves in the art scene in Abu Dhabi.
K. Sai Rahul Raju, 13, and K. Sai Rohan Raju, 9, won the prestigious Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational Young People for their environmental campaigns using art as a medium. They both will receive the certificate and trophy signed by U.K Prime Minister David Cameron on July 1.
Rahul and Rohan, who are students of Grade 10 and Grade 7 of Abu Dhabi’s Ryan Private School, bagged the award for their awareness raising campaigns to save endangered species of African elephants and rhino through their paintings. The Diana Award was established in 1999 to recognise courageous, caring, compassionate young people who transform the lives of others.
The brothers, who were in their hometown for their summer break, spoke to The Hindu about the award and what inspired them to take up art and wildlife conservation. “To be recognised at an international level is a big honour for us. It is a huge encouragement for us to pursue our passion for wildlife. Hundreds of elephants are killed for their ivories and rhino poaching has reached an alarming stage. We spread awareness on these issues through our paintings at schools and art exhibitions,” says Rahul, the elder of the two.
Trained by Chinese artist Jack Lee, the brothers have participated in 16 art exhibitions in UAE, US, UK and India and are a popular name in Abu Dhabi’s local art circle. In 2014, the talent of the two young creative minds was appreciated by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Social Development of UAE, when he bought their painting for his personal collection.
Mother too an artist
The boys were initiated into the world of art by their mother Sunita, who also is an artist. “Even as kindergarten students, they had won recognition at the school level. After finishing their studies, they spend about four to five hours in the weekends devoting to art,” says Sunita. During their last visit to Visakhapatnam, the duo spent their time to learn the art of Tanjore paintings. “Animals are voiceless and easy victims in the face of human cruelty. Through our works, we want to depict that and dedicate art for a purpose,” say the brothers, who are also probably the youngest artists whose works have been showcased at the prestigious Art Hub at Abu Dhabi along with a line-up of acclaimed artists. Impressed by work, American poet based in Abu Dhabi Bahareh Amidi recently featured one of their paintings in her book titled ‘The Carousel of Life’ which featured works of many other artists the world over. The boys are also active campaigners for The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Global March for elephants and rhinos. They are also associated with Emirates Environment Group (EEG) and regularly participate in their events.