The passing away of renowned artist Satish Gujral has sent the whole art world into mourning. Satish Gujral was not just a painter, but a multi-faceted personality. The 94-year-old Gurjal, who passed away due to old age-related problems, was also a sculptor, muralist, architect, graphic artist and writer (he wrote his autobiography ‘A Brush With Life’).
Expressing his sorrow at the death of one of India’s finest artists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a heartfelt message on Twitter: “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.”
Several personalities from the art world also took to Twitter to express their sorrow. Curator and artist Ranjit Hoskote said: “Just heard the sad news of Satish Gujral's passing. 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. RIP.”
Sarod Maestro and composer Amjad Ali Khan said: “Deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of eminent artist, sculptor, muralist and one of the pioneers of Contemporary Indian Art, Shri Satish Gujral. His contribution will always remember May his soul rest in peace.”
Bollywood singer and music composer Vishal Dadlani posted on Twitter: “Deeply saddened at the passing of Mr. #SatishGujral, one of the greatest artists India ever produced. He made it feel like he painted with light itself. His style as a painter and sculptor was so distinctive, you could instantly identify anything he had done. What a great loss!”
“We are saddened to hear about the passing of Indian painter, sculptor, and writer, #SatishGujral. Born in #Jhelum (now in #Pakistan) in 1925, he went to Mayo School of Arts in #Lahore, after which he moved to #Bombay in 1944 to join the Sir JJ School of Art. Gujral, one of the greatest artists India ever produced. He made it feel like he painted with light itself. His style as a painter and sculptor was so distinctive, you could instantly identify anything he had done. What a great loss! A witness to #Partition, the agony of the immigrant experience strongly manifested itself in Gujral’s early works. The #PartitionMuseum houses limited edition prints of Gujral's paintings,” The Partition Museum posted.
Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla tweeted: “Saddened to hear the news of demise of renowed painter, sculptor & writer Padma Vibhushan Shri Satish Gujral ji. He shall be remembered for his unique artistic imagination, intellectual fervour & multifaceted personality.”
Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu tweeted: “Saddened to learn about the demise of eminent painter, artist, sculptor, muralist and one of the pioneers of Contemporary Indian Art, Shri Satish Gujral. The nation will always remember his contributions in the field of art and culture. May his soul rest in peace.”
Satish Gujral, who was born in Jhelum, in pre-partition Punjab, lost his hearing at a young age of nine in an accident—he did get his hearing back, 62 years later, through an operation. Post that, he started exploring the world of colours on canvas and later studied art in Mayo College and moved on to the famous Sir J J School of Art in Mumbai. Satish Gujral’s work heavily reflected the turbulent times of partition. Recipient of India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, he was the brother of the late Prime Minister I K Gujral. His nephew, Naresh Gurjal, is a Rajya Sabha MP today. The alphabet mural on the wall of Delhi High Court are some of his renowned works along with the design of the Belgian Embassy in Delhi, which was done by him.