LIKE many, many others, we were fascinated with the story of five-year-old Shorya Mahanot from Nemuch in Madhya Pradesh, perhaps the world’s youngest abstract artist.
We also took with a pinch of salt the declarations of his genius, his brilliance, his earth-shattering ability to handle colour, till we got a glimpse of some of his work. We thought back to ourselves at the same age, desperately trying to keep within the outlines as we used crayons, and compared with that, we had to admit that Shorya seemed weird. So we sent off pictures of his stuff to friend and artist Gautam Benegal, and asked him to comment, and he did.
“Indeed it is very intriguing in the way he uses color and form. Shows he has an innate understanding of composition which is pure and unsullied by experience from the real world. But naturally - he is so young. Normally artists reach abstraction via different experiments with the figurative, drawn from the natural world. There are no figurative associations in these paintings”, said Gautam. Which sounded encouraging enough and caused us to re-look at the child’s work.
Anyway, on Tuesday, Shorya was at the home of the great R K Laxman in Pune, showing him what he could do. And so impressed was Laxman, that he gave him his own signature painting brush. In return, Shorya painted him a big canvas that had the audience very impressed and then he presented it to the master.
Till date Shorya has created 120 works of art and seems to have a pretty mature sense of colour, resulting in some surprisingly vibrant work. Who knows, for all we know, Picasso may have come back in an Indian avatar!