Lakhan is a friend I made while living and working in the slum of Phule Nagar in Mumbai. He was deaf and dumb, didn’t know sign language and couldn’t read or write. He was my neighbour, we used to hang out all the time, and do drawing sessions in exercise books in the evenings. Communication was made of smiles, the odd hand gestures and facial expressions. But I think what he understood from me the most were the colours and patterns I painted in my murals. He used to spend a lot of time looking at them and smiling at me. Since Lakhan knew no words of any kind, I couldn’t ask him for a word to paint, and this was a little frustrating. When I left India, I told myself that one day I’ll still paint a wall for him, even if he can’t choose a word.
So I just decided to paint his name on this wall, and the whole composition and colours scheme is inspired by the time we shared together in Mumbai. I’ve just sent this picture to people in the slum who will show it to Lakhan! I hope he’ll like it, and I hope that someone will find a way of “telling” him that I wrote his name on a wall of my city. But even if he doesn’t understand that, i’m pretty sure the colours will talk to him in a way he’ll appreciate.