Small But Mighty: 15-Year-Old Gallerist Creates Art Opportunities

Nalin Kamat didn't want to see youth shut out of the commercial art world

It turns out patience isn’t always a virtue. By the time Nalin Kamat was 13, the Toronto teen was well on his way to becoming a working artist. He had already had his first show at a local arts hub, showcasing his series titled “Dispositions,” charcoal sketches of the human body as a metaphor for his own transformation during adolescence.

Yet he wanted more—specifically to start showing his work in a juried exhibition, where a panel of art experts would evaluate and select pieces in a competitive review process. That’s when he hit an obstacle, discovering in the very last line of a multi-page application that the minimum age for submission was 18.

That rejection became a catalyst for creation. “There was a void in the art world, and I thought it’d be really cool if I could provide the opportunity to more young artists,” says Nalin, now 15. With the support of his parents, in January 2023, Nalin rented a storefront and founded Little EGG Gallery, a commercial studio exclusively for underage artists. The gallery, which is now profitable enough to break even, charges a small hanging fee for any displayed work and takes a 15 percent commission fee on sales. In turn, Little EGG helps promote young talent by showcasing their work.

Not long after the opening, Ontario College of Art and Design University professor and artist David Griffin stumbled upon the gallery while walking with his wife in their neighbourhood. An exhibition was being installed at the time, and some of Nalin’s own work was on the walls. Upon meeting Nalin, Griffin says he understood that he was speaking with someone special: “a strong young artist with a really excellent idea, which was to create a space for showing the local community the easy, natural genius of young people.”

A connection was formed, and Nalin asked Griffin to help judge an upcoming competition. The first juried show was last spring, and the top three winners each received a $50 cash prize. Five-year-old Jack Gamble won for his abstract painting titled Pokemon.

Given how busy Nalin is with school, life and his own art (he’s been travelling to international fairs to exhibit and sell his work), Little EGG is mostly open by appointment only, but he’s still dedicated to growing the gallery with seasonal and themed shows scheduled a few times a year.

Teo Rivas, a 17-year-old artist from Toronto who makes Latin American Indigenous molas—hand-sewn traditional textiles known for their vivid geometric designs—says it’s about time a venue like Little EGG existed. “As young artists, we don’t get as much credit as I think we’re due, and we also don’t get many opportunities to showcase the amount of work we put into the art.”

Next, read about a teenager working on cancer cell therapy.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada