NEW YORK – The news of the day from the art world is the upcoming auction of an Amedeo Modigliani nude estimated at $150 million, the most for any work of art at auction this season, at the Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern art sale, here, on May 14. The standout news of the week, though, was the exhibition of a 4-year-old Indian-origin boy, Advait Kolarkar, at the Artexpo New York, making him the youngest artist to be exhibited at the prestigious show in 40 years.
Kolarkar is originally from Pune, Maharashtra, and now lives in the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, with his parents, software engineer Amit Kolarkar and commercial artist Shruti Kolarkar, and his elder sister Swara.
The precocious Kolarkar doesn’t just dabble in art to impress; he’s making good money off it too, since his parents discovered his penchant for using color to make patterns on their apartment kitchen floor in Pune as an 8-month-old toddler.
Kolarkar sold a painting for $500 as a two-year-old. Since an exhibition earlier this year in Canada, and now in New York City over this past weekend, his works, inspired by dinosaurs and galaxies, are going for around $2,000 each.
CBS reported last week that Kolarkar has sold 38 paintings. His work has been described as “action painting grasped in a flurry of colors that breathe life into varied objects.”
A description of Kolarkar’s foray into the art world, on his website (www.advaitkolarkar.com) – where he sells his works too – says: “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 demand. His first few paintings are poems in motion of black strokes.”
As a two-year-old, Kolarkar could point out the difference between Naples Yellow and Cadmium Yellow, and how Burnt Sienna is different from Raw Sienna.
“It can take him two hours or even just 10 minutes to finish his art, which is never let unfinished. He knows where to draw the line. When the colors have taken generous shapes corresponding to his imagination, Advait stops content and happy,” his website says.
Kolarkar’s debut exhibition, in Pune, was inaugurated by Ravi Pandit, the co-founder and chairman of KPIT Technologies, who has three of the child’s paintings in his collection. CTVNews.com reported in January of this year that Kolarkar splashed onto the Saint John art scene shortly after his family arrived from Pune. A 30-painting exhibition titled “Colour Blizzard” ran through March 3.
“Every stroke, every layer is his feelings, his expression,” Advait’s mother, Shruti, told CTV Atlantic. “He is glad that people can take some part of his imagination to their home.”
Some people in the US, and no doubt in Canada too, are not too happy with Kolarkar’s prodigious success, and runaway fame, though.
There were plenty of disparaging and insulting remarks by readers on a story put out by CBS, on Kolarkar’s show at Artexpo New York. Surprisingly, there were no positive comments to appreciate the lad’s talent, or to even condemn the insults.
Here are some of the comments (sic):
“Looks like something “constructed” after a long night of hard drinking and partying. Sans the color of course.”
“I had this idea 40 years ago, except my “4-yr old” was going to be from Mexico and blind.”
“My dog draged his but across the lawn yesterdy leaving the most naturalists art swirls ever seen, Swirls of poopidy doopers is the title.”
“looks like a 4 year old’s art”
“This says more about the deplorable taste in art than the dubious “talents” of a 4-year-old.”
“So…………art is just child’s play. I beg to differ. I just won a shared third place in an exhibition after 30 years of work. Hard work.”
“It’s so frustrating to spend years on learning anatomy, posing, lighting, etc, and then this Jackson Pollock type stuff is what sells. … What a load”
“The infantilism of the US.”
“Dang, i flushed a masterpiece this morning.”
“Art is dead. Time to Nuke India.”
“This is not art.”
Well, one can only guess that such deplorable and ridiculous comments are the result of a mix of jealousy and rage, appalled that a child could achieve so much, make big bucks too. Well, there’s a word all these haters need to learn: prodigy.
Because that’s what Advait Kolarkar really is unquestionably: a child prodigy.
RUPY C TUT’S CALLIGRAPHY
Another Indian-origin artist is featured in New York City this week: Rupy C. Tut, who is based in Oakland, California. Originally from Punjab, Tut emigrated with her family to the US just before high school. She retains a strong connection to her Sikh background. It seems to inspire and guide her journey as an artist and calligrapher.
Tut’s work is being exhibited in The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, which runs through April 29.
‘On Love: The Art of Lines, Shapes & Symbols’, feature new large-scale calligraphic paintings on the Winter Garden windows from Tut and three other artists – Mehdi Saeedi from Iran, Masako Inkyo from Japan and Rostarr (Romon K. Yang) from South Korea – that center around the poetic theme of love. The artists use words, letters, shapes and symbols in a live demonstration from their respective languages and alphabets to explore the linguistic and artistic connections to calligraphy.
(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: email@example.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)