Published: 20th January 2021
Meet the six-year-old whose brilliant paintings were on the cover of this year's Kerala Budget
Aman Shazia Ajay, fondly called Akku is a second-grader of Government Girls' Lower Primary School, Vadakkancherry
A little over a year ago, the now six-year-old Aman Shazia Ajay noticed a multi-storeyed flat complex being built right next to his house in Thrissur in Kerala. Now what will happen if birds built a similar building, he wondered. Without wasting a lot of time, he picked up a piece of canvas, a few tubes of acrylic paint and his brush. A little while later, the canvas was yellow, with a tree's bark bifurcating it. There were four branches, two on each side and on them, sat eight birds.
The painting, titled Pakshikalude Flat (Birds' Flat), sat proudly as the cover of the Kerala Budget in Brief 2021-22.
Aman, also known by his nickname Akku, is a second-grader of the Government Girls' Lower Primary School, Vadakkancherry. His mother Shazia tells us that Akku started picking up paint and paper when he was three. "I am an artist and by watching me draw, Akku was naturally inclined towards art. Initially, like every child, he would scribble on the paper. However, a year later, I started noticing that almost all of his paintings had stories in them," she says.
ഇത്തവണ ബജറ്റ് പ്രസംഗത്തിൽ കുട്ടികളുടെ രചനകളാണ് ഉൾപ്പെടുത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നത്. ബജറ്റ് പ്രസംഗത്തിന്റെ ചിത്രം ഒരു...Posted by Dr.T.M Thomas Isaac on Friday, 15 January 2021
Akku has never been to a drawing class and Shazia says that he would only draw whatever he likes. Fascinated by her son's art, she started uploading them on her Facebook profile. "That was when people started noticing his work. Akku loves to tell stories too and he used to send his paintings and stories to a Malayalam children's science magazine called Eureka," she says, adding that it was a former editor of the magazine who suggested that they send across Akku's paintings to the ministry for the budget cover.
Akku will turn seven in February
The selection, however, came as a shocker to the family. "We had heard that a painting of his got selected. But it was only on the budget day that we realised that two of his paintings were published in the budget document and that one of them was the cover," she says. The second painting, Mazhavil Kaakkakal (Rainbow crows), shows a set of crows flying through the rainbow to meet the king of the fireflies.
Shazia says that a major reason for her pushing Akku to draw is her inquisitiveness to listen to his stories. "Recently, he reimagined all of his classmates as ants in a painting. This was followed by a series of paintings where all the humans that he knew were ants. In fact, he once drew himself as an ant, watching Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's press conference as an ant," she laughs. No points for guessing that Vijayan himself was drawn as an ant here!
A year ago, at the age of five, Akku has conducted his first and only art exhibition. "This was totally unexpected and was set up in a week by a few people at a nearby library. Surprisingly, a lot of people came to see his work," she says. However, Shazia doesn't like to think of Akku as a prodigy or as an unusual genius. "He is a normal child who loves to play. In fact, since the lockdown began, he only concentrates on playing with his friends in the neighbourhood. It's just that he loves to draw and we encourage it," she says.