Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery recently showcased the works of eleven school-going artists

“This is our first ever exhibition. Many appreciated our skills. We feel more confident and inspired,’” says 10-year-old V. Niharika, a student of Chitrakala Academy. Her paintings, along with those of her batch mates from the Academy, are on display at the exhibition, called “Growing Young Artists”, at Kasthuri Sreenivasan Art Gallery. “Now we are better aware of what we need to improve in our style,” chips in 12-year-old S. Keerthivassan.

Village vistas, grazing cows, and temple festivals come alive in the frames of these young artists. Fourteen-year-old R. Jeyatheerthan showcases a portrait of a lady carrying a pot of water, in acrylic. “I referred to my school text books, posters and internet for these images,” he says. Says 10-year-old M.K. Sudharshan, “The greenery in the village attracts me. It is unlike the cities, where most of us live. There is no pollution; and with so many trees and flowers, the country side looks beautiful.”

Fourteen-year-old T.J. Shivani loves ethnic motifs and traditional attires. “When other countries in the world celebrate the heritage of India, the people here do not give it enough value,” she argues. One of her works in poster colour features murals and sculptures. They are in vibrant earthy shades and have a striking similarity to the sculptures of ancient temples.

Says Shivani, “It is the toughest genre as it involves minute detailing.”

Many of these young artists are regular gallery hoppers. A painting of A. Priyadharsini, who is 13-years-old, captures a Tibetan lady wearing a colourful skirt. “This image was etched in my mind, during one of my gallery visits. I took a photograph of it in my camera and attempted to recreate it in my own way.”

The children have dabbled in abstract art too. Bhavika Dugar’s paintings have recreated goddess Saraswati, seated on a giant lotus. Triangles and cubes form the torso of the goddess. “At our academy we are taught all genres,” she says. “And, I immediately took to the abstract form.”

“At the school, we allow the children to develop their own free style,” says Chandrasekhar, their master.“We do not impose a form on them.” The gallery has displayed 60 paintings, in acrylic, poster colour and water colour. But these are not for sale, says Chandrasekhar. “We do not want the children to think about art commercially, already.”