An awakening in retrospect

RETRO TRIBUTE

An exhibition, ‘Awakening,’ with a retrospective on the life and works of late Kashmiri painter Gulam Rasool Santosh is being presented at the Delhi Art Gallery.

Opened on January 4 by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) President Dr Karan Singh followed by a book launch on the artist that contains scholarly essays, images of his paintings, and rare archival material including photographs, and Santosh’s poetry and other writings.

The occasion was graced by Delhi’s well-known faces like Veer Munshi, Shoobha Broota, Gopi Gajwani, Ashok Vajpayee, Shamshad Husain, VC Burman and wife Monica, Ranjeeta Kant, Shobhna, Aleida Baig and mainy more.

The son and a painter of the artist, who died in 1997, Shabeer Santosh was also present for the event. He shared his father’s views on the paintings with Karan. Talking about his father, Shabbeer said, “He taught me the non-verbal language of painting. And he was a liberal father. Mine is also an inter-community love marriage, just like my parents.”

Born to a middle class family in 1929, Rasool was fascinated with the natural beauty of Kashmir from a very young age. He studied art till his matriculation but had to give up on any dreams of studying it any further for he was forced to start earning bread for the family after the early death of his father.

Rasool was a self-taught artist as his father never encouraged him to pursue art as a profession. After being persuaded by S H Raza, a member of the Progressive Artists’ Group in Bombay, Rasool joined the Progressive Artists’ Association in Srinagar in 1952.

Later, a scholarship took him all the way to Baroda, where he was mentored by N S Bendre. In 1957, the painter received his first National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi and was awarded the Padma Shri in 1977.

The painter drew his inspiration from his native place. Gulam’s works like Sunset on Jhelum River, Backwaters, Kashmir, Dal Lake, Kashmiri Women Having Tea reveal his love for Kashmir, its landscapes and culture. The exhibition will remain open for public till January 21 on all days.

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