Renowned artist Satish Gujral dies at 94

satish-gujralNEW DELHI : Eminent artist Satish Gujral, known for his versatility across different mediums, died in Delhi last night at the age of 94 after a prolonged illness. A Padma Vibhushan awardee, he was an architect, writer, painter, muralist, sculptor and graphic artist.
Born on December 25 in Jhelum in modern-day Pakistan, Satish Gujral in 1926. Art critic Ranjit Hoskote remembered Satish Gujral’s unique approach to art, architecture and sculpture. Hoskote tweeted, “Unlike many of his peers, who went to Paris or London in the early 1950s, Gujral went to Mexico City to study with Diego Rivera and Siqueiros. Gujral’s was a versatile practice spanning painting, sculpture and architecture…”
His renowned works include the alphabet murals at the facade of the Delhi High Court and paintings such as Days of Glory and Mourning en mass, which are considered as expressions of anguish. As an architect, Gujral designed the embassy of Belgium in New Delhi in 1984, UNESCO building in Delhi, Goa University and even the summer palace for the Saudi Royal family in Riyadh.

Satish Gujral had told interviewers that he immersed himself in painting after witnessing the horrors of Partition.  Gujral was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1999 for his contribution to art.

Gujaral’s artworks were heavily inspired by the turbulence he experienced during early years in his life, including the illness that impaired his hearing as a child and the partition of the subcontinent. Former Prime Minister IK Gujral was his brother. He received Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian award, in 1999.
In a tribute on Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called him “versatile and multifaceted”. “Satish Gujral Ji was versatile and multifaceted. He was admired for his creativity as well as the determination with which he overcame adversity. His intellectual thirst took him far and wide yet he remained attached with his roots. Saddened by his demise. Om Shanti,” PM Modi wrote.

Among others who paid tribute on social media were Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri. “Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of celebrated painter, sculptor, muralist & architect Sh Satish Gujral. He will be remembered & missed by legions of his followers & admirers. I offer my heartfelt condolence to his family,” he wrote.
On his website, he is described as “one of the pioneers of contemporary Indian art”, “a living legend”. He was “one of the few who have consistently dominated the art scene in India for entire post-independent era,” says the website. Four books of his work have been published including an autobiography, it adds.

“Dozens of documentaries have been made recording his work. A full feature film on his life is in the making,” according to his bio on the website.

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