Hey folks, I am Heer Sonaiya and a budding artist. I began my journey towards art just like any ordinary child when I was six studying at school. I was introduced to colours and brushes and did not even know what art meant to me, but something about it drew me towards it. I suppose it was the bright colours that pulled me towards it.
I live in Jam Khambhaliya, where the art community is not very prevalent. However, I was reading a newspaper one fine day and came across an advertisement about an exhibition of an artist named Sangita Gada in Ahmedabad. I was fascinated and asked my parents to take me to the exhibition.
It was named ‘Water and Waves’. I was fascinated by her art and wished to showcase my art like her one day. During her talk, she mentioned the Artist watercolours, which were more transparent than the ordinary colours. It blew my mind and changed my perception of art.
I came to know in detail about Lalit Kala Academy. I found about their State Art Exhibition where people participated from all around Gujarat. I did not think that this visit to Ahmedabad and this exhibition were about to change my life. Then, I started taking painting seriously and made this my goal to be featured in the State Art Exhibition.
In 2017, I took part in the 57th State Art Exhibition at Ahmedabad and my painting named ‘Hope will Win’ got selected. I was not able to process it for a moment when it was announced. It still remains the happiest memory for me and the proudest moment for my parents. It encouraged me to pursue art more seriously; I pursued it with utmost determination.
I am a self-taught artist. I learn from different YouTube channels and online classes of artists. I even learnt from artists’ books and experiences.
Juggling between painting regularly and studying is an art form, and I am still learning to balance it. Even if I manage to balance it, finding a platform for my art is difficult. But as it goes, if there is a will, there is a way. Luckily, I found some institutions like Kala Pratishthan and UNESCO, which are working hard to provide a platform to every artist.
During the lockdown, I painted more than ever with a pinch of salt as all of us were clueless in the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, I participated in a Live Watercolour Competition organized by UNESCO, Liftwell and ELixir and supported by Kala Pratishthan.at Rani ki Vav, Patan, Gujarat. In this competition, I had to paint live in front of everyone, a challenge in itself. But, the bigger challenge was the eligibility criteria of the competition. The competition had age criteria that mentioned that anyone below the age of 18 was not allowed to participate.
I contacted the organisers and showed them my paintings, hoping that they would make an exception. After consideration, they allowed me to participate after having a look at my paintings. Now, the main challenge was to paint live. I was scared but decided to give my best after a bit of hesitance.
The time came when the results were going to be declared. I got selected and got a ‘Consolation Artist Award’. I felt very proud and was elated that I got a chance to stand with the artists on the stage. I really felt that I had finally achieved something as I got to share the space with Sangita Gada who inspired my entire journey.
That day could be called the best day of my life. Everyone congratulated me and appreciated me for my hard work. All of it would not have worked out without immense support from my family.
Since then, I found a lot of enthusiasm to paint as if someone had given my artwork the stamp of approval. I am continuing and trying to do better every day and become a great artist.
Heer Sonaiya is a class 9th student of St. Xavier’s school at Jam Khambhalia, Gujarat