(b 1937)




Artist Profile

The literary sensibility of 64-year-old Gulammohammed Sheikh is as fine as his artistic sensibility, for he is also a distinguished Gujarati poet. Elsewhere he has acknowledged that a chief source of his pictorial imagery is poetry, not only verse, but all the impressions, especially of the early years of life, the tales he heard and the myths he grew up with, which found expression as images in poetry first and later in painting.

Born in 1937 in Surendranagar, Saurashtra, Gujarat, this Padmashri recipient completed his MA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the MS University in Baroda. Subsequent to that, he taught art history at the same university and between 1982-1993, he was a professor of painting. In 1987, he was a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, US, and in 2000, writer/artist-in-residence at the South Asia Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Sheikh paints on formats ranging from the hand-held paper to the architectural scale, to bring the world he knows, sees and seeks into his life; to illumine it in its complexities and contradictions, reinventing art history while painting. Occasionally, Sheikh places an image upon another image to depict a journey of the spirit on the landscape of the face. There is a mysticism and, at the same time, the device of reversal is used in an almost surrealist mode, quizzical and explosive. The idea of a dialogue has been a very central one in his work and this idea imparts a dynamic quality to his works.