Living Legend with Mr. Gulam Mohammed Sheikh
Illustrious painter and art curator Mr. Gulam Mohammed Sheikh graced the ‘Living Legend’ series held at National School of Drama (NSD) Campus today. He is a painter, art historian, and writer, and has taught art history and painting for nearly three decades. Mr. Sheikh has edited a book on ‘Contemporary Art in Baroda’ that traces the evolution of Baroda as an important centre of contemporary art and art education from the 19th century up to the last decade of the 20th century. He was awarded prestigious Padma Shri award and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to art.
Mr. Sheikh feels that the impressions, especially of the early years of life, the tales he heard and the myths he grew up with, found expression as images in his poetry first and later in his paintings. Talking about India as his inspiration for poetry, he says, “Living in India means living in different times and cultures. One runs into cultured and primitive people at the same time. The past and present, both live together, illuminating each other. The kaleidoscope of extraordinary cultures present in this country engages me and inspires me to create my art.”
Over the years, Mr. Sheikh’s paintings have been inspired by the legendary 5th-century Indian mystic poet and saint Kabir, with whose words the artist has maintained a relationship in his artwork. “Kabir has always been my source of inspiration, right from my school days. Kabir has been an influential figure from the period in which he lived up to the present day. People live with his thoughts and words. Apart from Gandhi, Kabir is the historic Indian figure who gives us hope to survive in this world full of flaws and despair.”
Mr. Sheikh has been a major figure in the world of Indian art for more than four decades. He has participated in major exhibitions all over the world and his works are displayed in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, USA. Mr. Sheikh has been active not merely as an artist but also as a teacher and a writer.
Talking about his relationship with National School of Drama, Mr. Sheikh says, “My artistic journey spans for more than six decades. I have visited National School of Drama a lot many times over the years, in order to give guest teaching sessions. I have got the opportunity to watch various productions that the school has staged and I feel proud to be associated with it. Today, I feel ecstatic to be here again.”