Satish Gujral fete

A retrospective of the artist’s works, on display at a premier Delhi art gallery, tells a variety of tales.

HT Image

He is one of the country’s best-known artists. Now, the premier art institution, the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Delhi, is honoring Satish Gujral with a retrospective of his works. The Satish Gujral retrospective, in Delhi, includes 200 of the artist’s works — including sculptures, charcoals, and oils. On display are some of his earliest works from 1948 to his latest sports series.

“I’m celebrating the joy of life,” says the 80-year-old, Jhelum-born artist who began his career by capturing the trauma of Partition. He’s turned full circle, from those early, grim paintings to a celebration of the achievement of life through a series on sports. “There’s a dark and a light side to life. Right now, I’m celebrating the light.”

There is, of course, much to celebrate. Gujral is perhaps one of the most versatile artists whose work encompasses sculptures, murals, and buildings, including the famous Belgian Embassy, which was voted one of the 1,000 best buildings of the 20th century by the International Forum of Architects.

And with his autobiography, A Brush With Life, he also established himself as a writer.

“A retrospective is the celebration of a lifetime’s achievement,” says Rajeev Lochan, director of the NGMA.

Under Lochan, the NGMA has busied itself with organizing several retrospectives in the recent past.

Late last year, the NGMA had a Jehangir Sabavala retrospective. The next artist due to be honored is : Tyeb Mehta.