Purva Gavali was only six years old when she held her first art exhibition in 2009. When renowned cartoonist and author Mangesh Tendulkar, who passed away on Monday, got to know about the exhibition, he decided to visit it. He was impressed by Purva’s free use of colours and varied thoughts on canvas, and went on to attend 10 of the 11 exhibitions of her artwork over the years.
The only one that Tendulkar couldn’t attend was the one held in Nashik. Last month, when Purva visited Tendulkar at his home, he gifted her more than 40 brushes and various packs of colours that belonged to him. “He told her that because of his advanced age, he hadn’t been using them… so, he gifted them to her. The gesture was invaluable,” said Anuradha Gavali, Purva’s mother.
Speaking about the gift, Purva, now 14, said, “When I was in Class V, he (Tendulkar) had gifted me a brush that was used by him. I did not use it, as it belonged to such a great master and it carried his energy. Instead, I decided to keep it safely and frame it. Last month, when he gifted me so many colours and brushes, he insisted that … I use them to develop my style of painting and master it. Now, every time I use them, I will feel that my guru is sitting beside me to guide me.”
Purva, a student of Class VIII at Huzurpaga High School, indulges in various genres of painting – from spray painting to modern warli art to watercolours. The young painter is a self-taught artist and does not attend any art classes. In fact, it was Tendulkar who had advised her against doing so.
“When he (Tendulkar) visited her exhibition for the first time, we asked him if he could suggest someone… who could train her in drawing and painting, or if he himself could teach her. He advised us against enrolling her in any class as it would have changed her natural style. However, he also agreed that as and when needed, Purva was welcome to visit him for guidance,” said Anuradha, adding that following her ‘guru’s’ advice, Purva continued painting on her own.
While she would occasionally attend painting workshops if she found them interesting, she visited Tendulkar for guidance once a month. It was Tendulkar who taught Purva more about the use of various colours and colour schemes, said Anuradha.
In most of Purva’s paintings, one can spot a little girl. “Though the theme is different in each painting, the girl represents me in some way or the other. After seeing my work, he (Tendulkar) had said that this is my style and I should stick to it,” said Purva, adding that she aims to be a “great artist like Tendulkar”.
On how she broke the news of Tendulkar’s death to her daughter, Anuradha said, “She had tears in her eyes when I told her. I didn’t speak much to her about his death because that would have made her even sadder.”