Masterpieces before bedtime: Art world abuzz over Indian-origin child prodigy’s paintings
Advait Kolarkar is being described as a prodigy, and discovered art when he started crawling as a baby.world Updated: May 02, 2018 14:31 IST
Advait Kolarkar recently had some of his paintings displayed at the annual ArtExpo in New York, a destination event for the art industry and one that has hosted, among others, Andy Warhol.
Advait has previously had two solo exhibitions of his artwork -- at a gallery in Saint John in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, where he lives, and in Pune, the city where he was born.
He was unavailable for an interview as it was past his bedtime when this correspondent called, but his mother confirmed his future plans include starting school later this year, for Advait is all of four years old.
Advait is being described as a prodigy, and discovered art when he started crawling as a baby. As his mother Shruti Kolarkar, a visual designer, said, “His elder sister Swara used to paint with watercolours and he would take them and use that on the floor.”
His parents, Shruti and Amit, initially thought his interest in colours would work well as “therapy for him, calm him down”. Gradually, they realised that “this is not just play”, as Shruti said.
In a creative field herself, Shruti was amazed by her son’s progress: “When he was one, he started making serious compositions on the floors.” Advait was then handed acrylic colours and canvases.
When a gallery owner in Pune came to know of his talent, he was invited for his first solo exhibition. The venue was the Art2Day gallery and Advait was just two at the time.
Within weeks of that debut, the family moved to Canada. Advait continued to flourish and his parents approached the cultural affairs officer of the city of Saint John, who also happened to be the director of the city gallery.
“He got so impressed, so excited, he insisted we should exhibit Advait’s work at the gallery,” Shruti said. That exhibition, titled Colour Blizzard, was in January, days after his fourth birthday. The city’s mayor, Don Darling, who inaugurated it, purchased one of Advait’s paintings.
All 30 of the works on display were sold out within days, and a waiting list had to be put in place since Advait’s works were being collected for his appearance in New York.
“We had never imagined we will receive so much interest and he will be able to make so much money. Our initial thought was to keep him going with the art. He wants to keep painting,” Shruti said.
Part of the earnings are being put away towards Advait’s education in future, and some donated to charity. One of his paintings was auctioned to raise money for the Children’s Wish Foundation in Saint John.
“He loves that people are appreciating his art, he loves the idea of showing his work, he’s so happy. He just feels like flying when he sees his artwork on display. He realises, ‘I’m creating something that people like.’ But he’s not aware of the fame,” Shruti said of her son’s reaction to the attention he has attracted.
And there is the optimism his young career will continue to flourish, as Shruti said: “He has received so much encouragement and love, that’s really helped us to nurture his art.”