I was inspired to paint Overcome when I read Chanda’s story and was struck by how her beauty and strength rose above her circumstances. She lives in Sermapore, India with her parents and seven siblings, where one bed sleeps all the children. Her father is a rickshaw driver and her mother is a maid. Together they barely bring home enough money to feed their family of 10 with rotted food. Her father usually returns from work drunk and abusive. If these circumstances were not grim enough, Chanda was born with Cardiomegaly, commonly known as an enlarged heart. Her condition caused shortness of breath and extreme fatigue that kept her from basic tasks as well as from her love for dancing. Yet in the midst of it all, she has such a passion for life and a heart to see others’ needs tended to.
Without surgery, Chanda’s condition would have eventually caused an early death. Of course, her family could never have afforded the surgery she needed, but the organization Calcutta Mercy stepped in and provided the heart surgery at no cost to Chanda’s family. Now, she is able to live without slowing down and dance without stopping. Calcutta Mercy’s act of kindness makes me think of how each of us can give wings to a child in need by giving them a chance to overcome their circumstances too.