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G R Santosh

"Painting to me is like poetry - timeless and universal."

Poet-painter Gulam Rasool Santosh, who comes from the beautiful Kashmir valley, was born in 1929, in a middle class family. He once said in an interview, "In Kashmir, art was taught in school after class V. But I remember drawing in class II, starting, at the onset, on a landscape which I liked so much that I concentrated on landscapes, doing several of these before I changed my style." 

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 He completed his matriculation in 1945, with painting as a subject but was forced to give up the thought of further studies because of his father’s death. Santosh took up several odd jobs like signboard painting, silk weaving and whitewashing walls to support himself. Slowly, he 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.

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. One critic describes the artist's style and imagination to be "of the landscape of the heart rather than of any geographical region." The paintings were done in translucent colours of red, black and white. vvv