Gulam Rasool Santosh

Gulam Rasool Santosh, widely known in the world of modern Indian art as "Santosh', was born in Srinagar in 1929, in Kashmir. Initially trained in painting, weaving and papier-mâché, he won a Government of India scholarship to study Fine Art at the M.S. University, Baroda, under the late Prof. N. S. Bendre.

Early in his career Santosh started out with his deep love for Cézanne and the Cubist treatment of the pictorial space. He held his first solo show in 1953 in Srinagar. From the late 50s, he searched for the indigenous roots in the Hindu-Buddhist- Tantric mystico-religious traditions prevalent in Kashmir for centuries. And he was profoundly influenced by the Sufi mystic- poets. The aniconic and notational drawings of the Tantric Yantra, originally ritual designs for Tantric meditation, underwent a sea- change in his hand: the triangle became a pyramid, the circle a solid sphere, the square a cube which, in further constructivist elaboration, assumed the shape of a gem, emanating light. The transformed Tantric symbols of the cosmogony and cosmic processes of creation appeared in three-dimensional volumes on a flat plane. An avid colorist and ceaselessly inventive artist, Santosh was in the vanguard of Neo-Tantric waves in modern Indian painting. In his later paintings he often became figurative with stylized self-portraiture. Besides, Santosh was also a fine portrait painter.

Santosh was an acclaimed mystic poet in Kashmiri, and also wrote profusely in Urdu. His Urdu novel Samandar Pysasa Hai drew praise from the literati, and 1979 the Sahitya Akademi awarded him for his collection of poems in Kashmiri, titled Besukh Ruh.

Since 1953, Santosh held over 30 one-man shows in India, U.S.A., Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore-. His paintings had been exhibited in international shows, notably at the Sao Paolo Biennale (1969,1972), Triennale-India (1968, '78), 'Contemporary Indian Art', National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi (1 984), and the Neo-Tantra Art', U.C.L.A., Los Angeles (1 986). He received the National Award in 1973, and Padma Shri in 1977, and won the Artist of the Year Award in New Delhi in 1984.

Gulam Rasool Santosh died on 10th March 1997, in New Delhi.

Gulam Rasool Santosh-1.jpg (5899 bytes)

Gulam Rasool Santosh
Untitled
Acrylic on canvas
50" x 70"
1989

Gulam Rasool Santosh-2.jpg (5689 bytes)

Gulam Rasool Santosh
Untitled
Acrylic on canvas
18" x 18"
1996