May 19, On This Day
From 1976 to 1983 — the short but blazingly talented life of the unusually named child prodigy, Edmund Thomas Clint, shone like a star.
The lone son of the Late MT Joseph and Chinnamma Joseph, he was named after the veteran Hollywood actor and director Clint Eastwood, for his father’s obsession with cowboy films.
Edmund is believed to have drawn over 25,000 paintings during his life of less than seven years.
Born on May 19, 1976, he was just six years and 11 months old when he died of kidney failure on Vishu day in 1983.
It is reported that he loved painting Hindu festivals and traditional events near his home in Kochi, Kerala. Some say that normally it would take years of analytical study and training to draw such paintings as he did. In fact, at the age of 5, he secured first place in a competition held for painters below the age of 18!
They say Joseph’s artist friend G Mohanan, who used to frequent their home and often paint in the presence of the toddler, inspired the child.
The Better India reports: “Shortly after turning three, Clint had a near tryst with death. Diagnosed with a debilitating kidney disease, his little body was put through a painful trial that resulted in a ballooned up belly and swollen limbs. Despite perpetual exhaustion, Clint continued to create art relentlessly and often dealt with themes as deep and dense as death, solitude, and love.”
Unfortunately, a month short of his seventh birthday, the kidney disorder had crawled its way back into his system and this time proved to be fatal. What had started as a brief illness transformed into a coma from which Clint never woke up.
But Clint lives on, defying death through his art.