Pakala Thirumal Reddy was born to a farmer family in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district. Defying his family’s opposition to art as a professional practice and fascinated with colour and form in his childhood, Reddy joined Sir J. J. School of Arts, Bombay to study painting under a scholarship. In 1941, he, along with M. T. Bhopale, A. A. Majeed, M. Y. Kulkarni and C. Baptista, formed the group Contemporary Painters of Bombay, much before the Progressive Artists’ Group. He worked as a freelance artist in Bombay, working in the film industry as an art director, at printing presses and commercial studios. Setting up a furnishing industry at Hyderabad from 1947-67, he returned to being a fulltime artist in the Fifties.
A sensitive artist, Reddy evolved a unique vision of his own, creating complex compositions, realistic and expressionistic portraits, still-lifes and impressionistic landscapes. His later works are abstract, often revealing a tantric influence with folk motifs and symbols, and a synthesis of almost contrary forms. An excellent draughtsman, Reddy’s lines have an even flow, rarely changing in thickness or intensity. He was also trained in mural design and was acquainted with the Rajput and Pahari miniature styles.
He received many gold, silver and bronze medals from various art societies, including the Dolly Cursetjee award and Mayo scholarship for murals. He has received numerous other awards from other institutions including Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta and Andhra Pradesh Lalit Kala Akademi and became a fellow of the Sir J. J. School of Art in 1941.