Dr Shaji Pallissery Kuzhiyil with some of his paintings. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Armed with a passion for a hobby that he picked up in an art class in grade 5, an Indian expatriate doctor worked hard to drive away depression and stress during the worst COVID-19 phase in the last few months. The result was the creation of 100 incredible portraits, many watercolours and some acrylics too.

Meet Dr Shaji Pallissery Kuzhiyil, Specialist Orthopaedic Surgeon from the Jupiter Specialty Medical Centre, Dubai who picked up his brush and easel after 17 years to create over 100 paintings in four months.

Painting for a cause

The doctor has dedicated this labour of love to the frontline workers and plans to hold an exhibition and donate all proceedings from the sale to them.

The father of two said he learnt painting in summer vacations in grade five for two months and intermittently painted as a student. Now he was able to go back to his first love and launch an indefatigable painting mission to counter the COVID-19 fatigue.

Fighting COVID-19 fears with a hobby

NAT Ortho Surgeon Dr SHAJI PK-1608386203669
Dr Kuzhiyil with members of his family. Image Credit: Supplied

“It all began in the first week of April. I was going to the clinic, but there were fewer patients. I had more time on my hands and nowhere to go. My wife, Dr Jijisha Ali, a specialist gynaecologist at the Welcare Hospital, Dubai was inundated with work. Painting has always been my passion, but due to my busy life, I could not pursue it for long time. I would often go online to understand the technique of the great masters and with passage of time; I developed my own individual technique inspired by the masters. Eventually the lockdown gave me time to return to my passion,” explained Dr Kuzhiyil, who worked for two hours every day to create these paintings.

Positive messages through paintings

Initially, his paintings depicted the fear, darkness and despair of the strange times. “Initially as a health care worker, I was in stress and worried regarding the effect and impact on the society due to COVID-19. Therefore, the first few paintings reflected this until my friends urged me to paint from a place of hope. That changed my attitude and my artwork became lighter, positive and more inspiring.”

Painting by Ortho Surgeon Dr SHAJI PK1-1608386212525
A painting by Dr Kuzihiyil. Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Kuzihiyil said the paintings gave him tremendous strength and positivity, and worked to de-stress him and inspire hope. “I managed to complete over 100 paintings in the last four to five months. I included all kinds of emotions — childhood memories, portraits, celebrations — in these artworks,” said Dr Kuzhiyil.

Dr Kuzhiyil added: “Once when the pandemic gets over, I plan hold an exhibition and donate the proceedings to to the frontline workers/patients or those who are in need due to the pandemic.”