‘Illnesses shouldn’t limit who we are’ says artist with Parkinson’s disease

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Aseervatham Thevasagayam, known as Victor, began painting, sculpting, drawing, and creating copper-pressed art as a teenager.

“All through my life my paintings were about relaxation and happiness,” Victor said.

Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, the Victorian grandfather was forced to step back from his business.

“Now painting has become full-time to keep my mind and body active since battling my illness.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s movements, memory and mood.

For Victor, the disease has reduced his ability to walk, caused his muscles to stiffen, and affected his ability to shower and dress. It has also taken an emotional toll.

“There are side-effects of the many medications I am on. It can mostly cause me to become depressed and have a low mood.”

Victor credits a home care package from Villa Maria Catholic Homes with helping him to maintain an active lifestyle, stay positive, and continue with his beloved art.

“The support from VMCH has been immeasurable. They provide so many great services and allow me to take part in community programs and meet other people weekly.

They also include my wife, who is my carer, and she finds this a great outlet and support too.”

Victor admits painting has become much harder over the years.

“I can no longer do finer paintings and sketches, therefore have had to adapt my style into broader brush strokes. I feel sad that I can’t create the pieces I was once able to; however when I am painting or working on my art I’m able to focus well, and at this stage, continue to control my movements to some extent.”

Victor hopes to inspire the general public, and other people living with Parkinson’s, through his first exhibition in Victoria next month, with almost 100 works on display.

“I want to help people understand that we should continue to hold true to what we love and our passions no matter what, and that our illnesses shouldn’t limit who we are and what we enjoy in life.”

The exhibition will be held from 3.30-7.30pm on Sunday, 1 May at Augustine Hall, Habitat Uniting Church, Hawthorn.