July, 2020

Advait Kolarkar: The painting prodigy

By Surbhi Gogia

Four-year-old Advait from India has taken Canada by a “colour blizzard”. He has been hailed as “prodigy” by The Telegraph Journal and CTV, Canada and Times of India, also making him one of the youngest
artists worldwide

It is very common for toddlers and pre-schoolers to hold crayons and fill paper with random colours. However, it is an unusual site for those colour creations to go up in an art exhibition and most uncommon to fetch a price even up to $2500. But this is the price, art lovers are ready to pay for the paintings of 4-year- old Advait Kolarkar.

Advait, a resident of St John, Canada, has taken the country by a color storm since the time he moved here last year from India with his parents. Within a short span, he has become the youngest artist in the history of the City Gallery, Saint John Arts Centre to have his solo exhibition. And what more, he is all set to take on the world with his master strokes when he attends Art expo Newyork in April as their youngest artists in their 40 years of legacy. It is one of the biggest art trade shows in the world — an honour many artists wait a lifetime to experience.

You may ask what is so special about his paintings that make him a painting prodigy. “I’ve never seen someone that age dabble with the paint in the way that he does,” told Bernard Cormier, St John, cultural affairs officer in a media interview. Cormier who has been in the field of art for more than 30 years said, “I’ve been exposed to artwork all my life and I see something special in this young boy.”

Advait’s specialtyy lies in the way he imagines his fanciful world of galaxies, dragons and everything vivid and channelizes this fantastic imagination through the canvas in colours and combinations that are well beyond his age.With a penchant for reading books and instinctively memorizing its contents, Advait can tell dinosaurs apart, be it Ceratopsians or the ones that lived in sea.

Astronomy is another hobby he has indulged in. At a young age, he knows what the universe basically looks like — moons, nebulas, comets and planets — cloud his imagination and source his artistic energies. Reading has got him far and has developed an inherent sense of recognition.

He can identify different musical instruments, along with his dinosaurs and even insects (be it the miniscule difference between hercules and rhinoceros beetle). These facets are a part of his creative process and are piecing an abstract picture that the child’s mind can process as a whole.

Helen Bridgeo who bought nine of Advait’s paintings said, “When I looked at his work, it made me feel joyful. It made me feel happy.”Since the time Advait held colours in his hands, it is this joy that his paintings are spreading across — within his family and eventually in the outside world.

Son of a software engineer Amit Kolarkar and commercial artist Shruti Kolarkar, Advait hails from Pune, India. His fascination with art began when he was merely three months old. “He would keenly gaze at black objects—wardrobes and curtains — an observation that soon turned into a demand. His first few paintings are poems in motion of black strokes.When he started crawling, he would go up to his sister and spend hours watching her paint. We noticed the switch in his mood when he was around paint and colours. It was natural for us to give him some colours. But since he was too small I started giving him edible food colours and he started making some amazing compositions on the floor,” says Advait mother Shruti.

Soon, his penchant for playing with colours took serious proportions. When Advait started talking, forming sentences, colours made for an important section of his vocabulary. The two-year- old could tell them apart from the shade. “He pointed out the difference between Naples Yellow and Cadmium Yellow. For instance, he understands how Burnt Sienna is different from Raw Sienna,” Shruti says.

His parents then approached an art gallery in Pune. The curator was very much interested to see Advait’s work and his process. His strokes were observed for 6 months and finally the gallery decided to hold an exhibition of Advait’s paintings when he was just 2-year- old.

The young artist’s parents were not even fully recovered from the joy of their son's achievement, when they had to move to St John, New Brunswick, for a work assignment. It was a new country, a new culture where Shruti did not know how to take her son's talent further. But as they say creativity has no boundaries. Advait's art was much appreciated and further promoted by the city’s cultural officerBernard Cormierin the form an art exhibition who was amazed to see Advait’s paintings.

The latest Advait’s 30-painting exhibition was titled “Colour Blizzard." All of them went off the walls too
quickly. According to Shruti, her son’s work is completely spontaneous. Nobody instructs him or influences what he paints. "It all depends on his mood. His technique too varies sometimes with use of hands, sometimes with brushes and even with objects like a comb. “Since he is spontaneous and natural, Shruti does not want to affect the flow of his art by training him in a formal art school. “I do not want his natural style to be tutored. I would just love him to paint the way he does. It will be his decision to join any art school once he grows up,” she adds.

With raging success at the tender age, one could say that Advait’s journey has just begun. What remains to be seen is how this prodigal art flourishes in the time to come. Advait won smiles through donations and at the Children’s Wish Foundation, Canada’s auction.

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