News - Small wonder
by Life Positive
The human foetus and its divine origin The powerful colours he uses add passion and power to his work: Sap green, muddy blue, raging red.
But Dev is no realised yogi or seeker expressing his spiritual yearnings via the easel. He is a painfully shy young boy of 11 years who lives with his parents and aunt in an upper middle class house in Matunga in Mumbai.
A student of Standard VI in The Arya Vidya Mandir school, Dev has been creating since he was a child of two-and-a- half years. “He would doodle on almost everything he could lay his hands on. There were drawings on the walls, bedspreads, mirrors, floors, even on the exposed parts of our bodies,” says his aunt, Ketna Mehta (49).
She adds, “One afternoon, when Dev was six years old, he walked into my room with his brush and watercolour and began to paint. After sometime he asked me to look at what he had drawn. He had drawn the human spine! My jaw dropped. I asked him if he knew what he had painted. Casually he replied, ‘The spine’ ‘How do you know? Have you seen it before?’ I asked. ‘No,’ he replied. ‘Then how did you paint?’ ‘“I don’t know,’ he muttered and walked away,” she says. Coincidentally, a spine injury has rendered Ketna wheelchair bound. She is founder of Nina Foundation, an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of people suffering from a spinal injury,
Interestingly, many of Dev’s painting show a Shivalinga in various lengths, shapes and moods. There is a prominent depiction of aum on the canvas, the Shivalinga, and at the centre of the human torso too. On asking whether he has been introduced to worship of Lord Shiva, his mother Roopal Mehta, 47, denies emphatically. “My husband’s family worships Vishnu whereas I am a Jain by faith. He has been painting the Shivalinga without ever being taught about the god."
She adds, "One day he amazed us by painting the human foetus. The veins around the foetus were shaped like aum and the umbilical cord was originating from a Shivalinga situated far above in the ether.”
The last tree Ketna adds, "Dev was born a year after my elder sister Nina Doshi, died suddenly one morning at the age of 39. Dev’s mother, who had been trying to conceive for many years without success, suddenly found herself pregnant a few months post Nina’s death. This was surprising since the best of doctors had told her that she could never have a baby! Despite several complications Dev was born with all his faculties intact. Dev’s birth, his insights, his trance-like paintings, all point at life’s continuity and the grace of God that protects and guides us,” beams Ketna.
Dev’s father Dhaval Mehta 47, Chairman and MD of an advertising firm believes that Dev is God’s gift to them. “Dev is an unusual child. He is a thinker. Once he used water colour on paper and poured water on the painting. He then drained it sideways and showed us the result. He had depicted a world submerged in water with only a tree standing above. Dev turned to me and said, ‘One day the whole world shall be destroyed by Lord Shiva except for this one last tree. From this tree once again life shall begin.’ We were spellbound,” he says.
His mother says, “Whenever Dev suggests something and we listen, we almost always benefit. Once I suffered from throat problem which was not going away even after several treatments. Dev came to me and said, ‘Mamma why don’t you hum the aum sound? You’d be okay.’ You won’t believe, I really became well after doing it!” Roopal exclaims. Despite his precocity, Dev enjoys the simple pleasures of childhood like playing cricket, travelling and exploring the ipad.
Recently, he held his 2nd solo in Mumbai. “The only word I can think of is unconventional. The fact that there are no people/birds/ or any usual subjects in the painting is incredible. The work is a result of tremendous creativity,” said Anaita Pradhan, a visitor to the exhibition.Contact: email@example.com
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