For renowned artist Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, his childhood days, the complexities of daily life and the world around him have been the main themes for his works that has won him accolades from art lovers world over.
"I am not static and love to be always on the move. I closely observe life around me. My works are basically an impression of my observations as a nomad who has walked a lot. I still love walking," he said while describing the title of his talk titled "Walking the World" organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation as part of "Art Talk" series here yesterday.
His work "City for Sale" depicts the socio-politico and economic milieu of his home town Baroda which had seen a lot of riots and many tragedies, the Padma Bhushan awardee said.
Addressing the gathering, Hibi Eden, MLA, said the first edition of the Biennale had in fact brought the attention of the art lovers worldwide to Kochi.
Sheikh said it was for the first time in the history of contemporary art that a city like Kochi, which was not even a metro, had come forward to organise such a mega art event. While the first edition was 'majestic', Shiekh said he was eagerly looking forward to the next edition.
"We expect the coming edition to be more fruitful and eventful. The state government has been extending a lot of support to the mega art event and the city is blessed to host the event, which is supported by artists from all over the world," he added.
An internationally renowned artist, writer and critic, Sheikh has been a key figure in Indian contemporary art since the early 1960s. He has been honoured with Padma Shri in 1983, Kalidas Santman in 2002, Raja Ravi Varma Puraskaram in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.
Born into a Gujarati family in pre-partition India in 1937, he attained Master of Arts in painting at Maharaja Sayajirao University Baroda, Vadodara, before joining Royal College of Art, London.
Sheikh, who conducted his first solo exhibition in 1960, draws inspiration from Persian, Mughal, and Pahari miniatures, and Bakhti and Sufi poetry and magical realism.
He has participated in major exhibitions worldwide and his works are displayed in private and public collections, including at National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, USA.