Two-year-old to hold painting exhibition in Australia

March 3rd, 2009 - 11:17 am ICT by IANS  

Sydney, March 3 (DPA) The finger-paintings of a two-year-old would normally be praised for their creativity by doting parents and get a place under a fridge magnet along with shopping lists, bills and postcards. But Aelita Andre’s parents have managed to convince a Melbourne gallery that their tot’s acrylics deserve a solo exhibition next month.
Australian national broadcaster ABC said that art critics are bitterly divided over the honour Brunswick Street Gallery owner Mark Jamieson has bestowed on the daughter of Russian-born photographer Nikka Kalashnikova and husband Michael Andre.

An anonymous contributor to Australian Design News blasted Jamieson for giving wall space to a supposed child prodigy.

“She signs her art with a hand print, but one wonders what Aelita would have to say if she could form complete sentences,” the letter writer said. “Some lucky therapist 15 years down the track will probably cop an earful.”

Kalashnikova showed Jamieson little Aelita’s work in October - but didn’t say the work was her daughter’s and that she was not yet two. It was only after he agreed to take the paintings that the deception was revealed.

“I was shocked and, to be honest, a little embarrassed,” Jamieson said.

Kalashnikova claims she didn’t set out to mislead.

“I didn’t tell him because I had all these feelings going through my head… fear, embarrassment,” she explained.

Andre said his daughter’s genius was revealed in her earliest works. “It immediately leapt out as a defined representation of something in an abstract form,” he said.

Robert Nelson, art critic with Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, said Aelita was channelling her parents. “If it’s a child’s work, it’s not a child alone,” he said. “We’re happy to credit the child but it begins with a parental concept.”

That there is a big splodge of parental input is evident in the very adult titles of the paintings. One is called MIR Space Station in Cherry Blossoms.

As her parents put it on Aelita’s website: “Her works are so vivid and expressive, so full of energy and depicting subjects way beyond her years.”

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