Last Friday, a group of grown-ups watched in awe as four-year-old ‘abstract artist’ Shorya Mahanot displayed his creativity on canvas at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The demonstration was part of an art exhibition that featured 24 of his best works.
As people viewed the paintings, Shorya, who came all the way from Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, preferred to play with the new toy jeep that his parents bought him.
“Shorya is not interested in all the publicity”, says Aditya Mahanot, the young artist’s father. “He agreed to the exhibition only after we agreed to buy him a new jeep. We were worried that he wouldn’t paint in front of such a big crowd, but when the time came, he did it with confidence. He balanced the colours perfectly”, he adds.
When asked about what led to Shorya’s fascination with abstract art, Aditya says, “About nine months ago, Shorya was helping my wife with a collage. I was in Mumbai when she called me and told me that he had made an abstract painting that was really good. I suggested that my wife buy him some canvases and let him paint. I put a picture of his first canvas painting on Facebook as ‘Debut of Shorya’ and as our friends and relatives expressed how much they liked it, we realised that he had real talent. Of course every time he did a painting he asked us for a new toy car.”
Shorya has painted over a hundred abstracts since he first started, and he is among one of the few child artists in the world who have had their works exhibited. He is also one of the lucky few to have been allotted a privileged space, the hotel’s Chambers Terrace which hosted Obama’s speech in Mumbai and the World Cup celebrations, for his show in the city.
Looking at Shorya’s future, Mahanot says, “It is up to him to decide how much time he wants to spend on painting everyday. As a parent, I will just arrange for everything he needs and explore the possibilities that are open to him in order to show his work to the world. He has already achieved a lot in life and we are proud of him.”