Wednesday, July 4, 2012

India's 'child Picasso'

One of Shorya Mahanot's abstract paintings. Photograph: Helen Pidd for the Guardian

India's 'child Picasso' Shorya Mahanot, aged five, at work. Photograph: Helen Pidd for the Guardian

"I want to do some painting," said the small voice underneath the dining table. "But first I want to shoot someone." Kapow! A green foam ball pinged out from beneath the tablecloth, shortly followed by Shorya Mahanot, wielding a luminous pumpgun. Clearly pleased that he had hit one of his big sisters, Asia's youngest abstract painter ran off to get changed. Dubbed a "child Picasso" by the Indian media, five-year-old Shorya hit the headlines last month when India's most famous cartoonist took him under his wing. RK Laxman, 90, welcomed the budding artist into his home in Pune, Maharashtra. He was so impressed, his father, Aditya Singh says, that he suggested the pair put on a joint exhibition in Mumbai next month. Neemuch, a dusty town in central India is best known, if at all, for its opium production and the unusually high number of locals who donate their eyes after death. But if Aditya Singh's dream comes true, Neemuch may soon be famed as the birthplace and workplace of India's greatest contemporary artist; a south Asian Giverny; a place as synonymous with 21st-century abstraction as New York is for pop art.

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