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Joining the art world young

Salvador Dali, Patrick Hughes, MF Hussain, SH Razza, Siddhidatri (13) and Siddhesh (8) Sharma: The last two names made people who attended the India Art Festival at Nehru Centre do a double take. Sucharita Kanjilal reports.

mumbai Updated: Nov 24, 2011 01:38 IST
Sucharita Kanjilal

Salvador Dali, Patrick Hughes, MF Hussain, SH Razza, Siddhidatri (13) and Siddhesh (8) Sharma: The last two names made people who attended the India Art Festival at Nehru Centre do a double take.

The siblings were exhibiting their work at the festival along with works of these masters. The festival was held at the Nehru Centre from November 17 to 20 and the Sharmas were their youngest participants. Siddhidatri, and her brother, Siddhesh, were the only children to be allotted a stall at the festival that brought together the works of 600 artists from around the world.

“Our criterion for featuring art at the exhibition was that it had to match a professional artist’s work, and theirs did,” said Rajendra Patil, the festival director.

“I usually paint or draw pictures of people who inspire me, like Oprah or Swami Vivekananda. It is a hobby right now, but I hope to pursue it professionally one day,” said Siddhidatri. a Class 8 student of Vidyavikasini High School, Vasai, who started drawing when she was four after receiving a set of colour pencils for her birthday.

“While we were watching television, we saw Siddhidatri pick up one of the colour pencils and copy the television and the image on it perfectly into her little drawing book. Her brother also started drawing in turn, by copying art that she had made,” said Sushila Sharma, their mother. “We realised that they were talented, so we bought them books on art so that they could learn and better their work.”