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G R Santosh

1929 – 1997
G R Santosh

Masterpieces On Exhibit

G R Santosh

Poet-painter Gulam Rasool Santosh, who comes from the beautiful Kashmir valley, was born in 1929, in a middle class family. He completed his matriculation in 1945, with painting as a subject. In his early days itself, Santosh had to take up several odd jobs like signboard painting, silk weaving and whitewashing walls to support himself. Slowly, he began concentrating on commercial art and became a skilful papier-mache artist. 

 In 1950, Santosh joined the Progressive Arts Association in Kashmir, formed as a result of artist S H Raza's efforts to mobilise Kashmiri painters. Santosh exhibited across India as a member of this association. In 1954, he won the government scholarship to study Fine Arts under the tutelage of artist N S Bendre at the MS University, Baroda.In his early years, Santosh was greatly influenced by geometric shapes and the mysticism of the Kashmir valley. His treatment of snow-clad houses and the backwaters on the banks of the Jhelum river, reveals his finely tuned sense of visual perception and is an example of splendid semi-abstract treatment. Although Santosh began by painting landscapes, he was gradually influenced by Cubism and switched over to creating Cubist landscapes, a theme for which he is very popular now.In 1964, a visit to the Amarnath temple proved another turning point for the artist and he stopped painting to study Tantra (mysticism) and Kashmir Shaivism (a sect of Shiva followers). Inspired by the combination of the male and female form, his subjects came to be dominated by the Shiv-Shakti.The artist's contribution to Tantric art spearheads the movement in the art world. In a series of seventeen paintings he did in the 1970s, Santosh portrays the chronic, indefinable solitude and loneliness that plagues the modern man. The paintings were done in translucent colours of red, black and white.Since 1953, Santosh has held over thirty one-man shows. In 1973, he received the Lalit Kala Akademi award and the Padma Shri in 1977.The artist passed away in 1997 in New Delhi. 

 His exhibit with us in an oil on canvas.