Yusuf Arakkal's early paintings were studies in abstract of the lives of the city dwellers. He used a profusion of bright colours to depict their situation. Later, his growing concern with social issues began to be reflected in his paintings. Arakkal, through his art, depicts the everyday life of the dispossessed, in urban areas - their poverty, helplessness, dismal living conditions and their stoicism in the face of tragedy.
In keeping with his partiality for somber shades, Arakkal employs earthy shades with an occasional dab of yellow or crimson. He concentrates on the texture of his canvases and gives them a grainy, rough surface, reminiscent of timeworn, peeling, cracked walls. Several of Arakkal's canvases focus on a solitary human in various poses. "The face, whether it is of a man or a woman, is mine, an observer, and alone. I have been painting this character for 20 years. I'm not bald, I'm not a woman, but I'm sure it's me".
Arakkal has a Diploma in Painting from the Chitrakala Parishath College of Art, in Bangalore, Karnataka. He has held over 38 shows in Bangalore, Madras, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Mumbai and New Delhi. Internationally he has shown his works in London, France, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. He received the Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1979 and in 1981, the Shiromani Kala Puruskar from the Government of India, in 1983, and the award of the Third Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1986. Yusuf Arakkal passed away on 4th October, 2016.
His work exhibited with us are titled The street, an Oil on canvas made in 2006 and The child, an Acrylic on canvas made in 2006.