Priyanshu Thakur's sculptures and canvases, on display at Prakrit Arts, show that the 12-year-old has an eye for detail

Priyanshu Thakur is so fascinated with rural India that the sights and sounds he experienced during train journeys have been transformed into vivid canvases and stoneware sculptures. There are cows with their herd, men plucking fruits from trees even as their women watch on and villagers with their hands raised in prayer. Yet what is more surprising than the subtle details in the creations is the artist himself — Priyanshu is only 12-years-old.

“My themes are based on Indian culture, and the focus is on the rural setup,” he explains, “Whenever I travelled by train, I would observe the people in the villages, working, tending to their cows and involved in farming. Hence this became my muse.”

With artists for parents, it was only natural that Priyanshu followed suit. He began to copy his parents' work when he was five and gradually developed his own style. “There was always clay in my house and I loved playing with it. I would watch my mother making things and tried copying them. Eventually, with practice, I got better at it,” Priyanshu explains.

Priyanshu uses stoneware clay and terracotta to bring out different textures in his Ganeshas and human sculptures. “Ganesha is very close to my heart, which is why I'm constantly making different sculptures of him. The others are what I call ‘abstract figures', where I've given the common human figure a twist,” he says.

There are accents of surrealism in these figures — modelled as couples or in groups, each sporting a different emotion. “I was trying out different styles for faces and when I found that this form appealed to me, I settled for it. But, the head has a lot of detail, so I dry the body first and then adjust the head on it. It takes me a couple of hours to finish one sculpture and I usually start working on them when I come back from school,” adds Priyanshu.

The 12-year-old artist's paintings are affordable, ranging anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs. 10,000.

This is Priyanshu's first solo show and he is overwhelmed by the response. “It's nice when people walk up to me and say they can't believe I made this because it's so mature.”

Priyanshu Thakur's show is on view till today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Prakrit Arts, 102, Greenways Road Extn., R. A. Puram.