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Meet India's "Little Picasso", Shorya Mahanot, a child prodigy who has painted in the abstract style since he was three. Today, he is Asia's youngest abstract painter.

Kumud Merani
Published on
Friday, June 8, 2018 - 12:57
File size
17.74 MB
9 min 41 sec

Eleven-year-old Shorya Mahanot, was unsure what all the ensuing fuss was about the first time he picked up a paintbrush and created brush strokes like an abstract master. At the time, he was three years old. 

"It just happened naturally," he tells SBS Hindi. 

His parents weren't even sure he had seen the abstract style before. His family all enjoys painting, but according to Shorya's father Aditya Singh Mahanot, his own work couldn't have been behind it. 

“I used to paint but I mainly painted portraits, I never painted in the abstract form," Mr Mahanot says. "In fact, I don’t even understand it very much.”

Nevertheless, when the father first saw his son's creations on paper, he had little trouble understanding the talent on display. "We encouraged him and bought him canvas and colours which he beautified with his imagination and colour compositions," says the proud father. 

“Shorya is God-gifted, we realised his talent when he was just three and a half years of age."

Six months later, at the age of four, Shorya drew the attention of the international art world with his first solo exhibition -- at the Taj Mahal Palace. Indian media soon dubbed him "child Picasso".


The young boy's international debut came in 2013. Shorya was six. At New York City's Artexpo, several of his paintings were selected as 'Best of Art Expo'. 

Now 11, Shorya, the child prodigy from Neemuch in India, is known all over the world for the striking colours and masterful brushstrokes of his paintings. His work is highly acclaimed by art critics and his story has been covered by many international media outlets, including The Guardian, HuffPost, The Times of India, IBN Live, CNN and Buzzfeed. 

In a recent interview, Shorya’s passion for art was palpable, telling SBS Hindi he wanted to continue being a professional artist as an adult. 

Shorya has also made the foray into tech, with recent collaborations with Microsoft in which he makes digital paintings.