Their paintings deal with themes like world peace and the urban-rural divide; the media range from ink on paper to acrylic on canvas. They have won national and international art awards — one even has a President's gold medal.
And they're all aged 8 to 11.
In keeping with its 16-year tradition of displaying works by prodigious child artists ahead of Children's Day, the Nehru Centre Art Gallery is holding an exhibition of paintings by four talented youngsters — Jash Solanki, 8, Vedika Kanchan, 9, Sana Khanyari, 10, and Priyanshu Thakur, 11.
The exhibition, titled Bal Disha, began on Tuesday and will continue till November 15. “We invited these four children because they have all won national and international recognition through their works,” said Nina Rege, assistant director of the Worli gallery.
For the children, it's another sign of recognition and acknowledgment.
“I like putting down my ideas on paper and painting,” says Khanyari, a Juhu resident and Class 5 student who won the President's gold medal at a student-level national art competition in 2008 and has 14 works on display at the exhibition.
Khanyari uses her art to explore the themes of violence and peace. “I like drawing nature,” she said. “In one of my paintings, I show a tiger sitting with two birds. If animals can live in peace and harmony, why can't humans?” Thakur's concerns are different. The Class 6 student from Malad focuses mainly on the hardship faced by the rural Indian farmer.
“We get all our food from farmers and we do nothing to make their lives better,” says Thakur.
In addition to 14 paintings in ink and oil on canvas, Thakur is also displaying 11 sculptures in glazed ceramic and terracotta. “I began doing ceramic sculptures in Class 4,” says Thakur. “This year, I was also invited to conduct workshops and sell my sculptures at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival in February.”
Vedika Kanchan, a Class 4 student from Juhu, has won several national and international awards and was among 300 child artists whose works were displayed during the Commonwealth Games festivities in New Delhi last month.
“Jash, from Dhule, is our youngest participant,” said Rege. “Apart from being an accomplished painter who has won national and international awards, he's also a good magician.” Sleight of hand takes on a whole new meaning, then.