Is born in old Srinagar, Kashmir, in a Shia Muslim family; his name
is Gulam Rasool Dar.
To survive through the financially harrowing years, he takes up a
miscellany of jobs like painting watercolour landscapes for tourists,
weaving, and fashioning papier-mâché works to support his family.
His artistic practice is influenced by the artist Dina Nath Walli.
Joins Progressive Artists Association in Kashmir, owing to eminent
painter S. H. Raza’s endeavours to mobilise Kashmiri painters.
Paints expressionist landscapes bringing the everyday life of Kashmir
valley into focus. Kashmir remains a key inspiration for the artist
throughout his life as he seeks his artistic idiom in his traditional
roots and culture.
First solo exhibition in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Receives a government scholarship to study at Faculty of Fine Arts in
Baroda under N. S. Bendre as a noncollegiate student. These years
are marked by figurative paintings executed in a cubist style.
Participates in the National Art Exhibition with expressionistic
landscapes. Returns to Kashmir and continues to paint in the cubist
vein till 1959.
Gold medal at Industrial Exhibition, J&K Government, Srinagar.
Wins Bombay Art Society’s President Sir Cowasji Jehangir Bart prize.
First exhibition in Bombay.
Receives his first national award from Lalit Kala Akademi, a feat he
would repeat in 1964 and 1973.
Wins first prize at Kalidasa Jayanti Exhibition, Ujjain.
Paints abstract works.
Marries a Kashmiri Pandit girl, stirring up a controversy in the valley.
Takes her first name, Santosh, as his surname, and relocates to New
Wins the state award from the J&K Academy of Arts & Culture,
Is part of Paris Biennale, France; also, exhibits at National Gallery of
Has exhibitions at well-known galleries in New York, Kabul, Tel Aviv,
Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Delhi.
Finishes composing his Urdu novel, Samandar Pyasa Hai. Additionally,
his participation in the National Poetic Symposium establishes his
identity as a major poet of Kashmiri language.
A mystic epiphany on a pilgrimage to Amarnath in Kashmir proves
a turning point and becomes the catalyst that steers his practice
towards a philosophical approach to art. He begins his study of
Shaivite philosophy—the Kashmiri approach to the worship of Shiva.
Exhibits at Gallery Revel, New York. In 1963-64, the artist’s works are
extensively exhibited in U.S.A., Hong Kong, Manila, and Singapore.
Art critic Keshav Malik praises the ‘distinct improvement’ in Santosh’s
work on exhibit at Kumar Gallery, New Delhi.
Holds his last exhibition of works as a ‘modernist’ before the transition
Ajit Mookerjee’s book Tantra Art is released and is a publishing
Santosh paints his early tantra works and the Shiva-Shakti series.
The artist’s exploration of tantric art shows abstracted bodies in copulation.
Dr Karan Singh, India’s minister of tourism and civil aviation at the
time, inaugurates his exhibition at Kunika Chemould Art Centre, New
Participates in U.C.L.A.’s exhibition ‘Neo-Tantra Art’ in Los Angeles.
Participates in the I, IV and V International Triennales organised by
Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
Pundole Art Gallery, Bombay, exhibits his works.
Is part of Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
Receives the Padma Shri from Government of India.
Designs the Lalit Kala Gallery in New Delhi.
The artist’s poetry collection, Besukh Ruh, wins the Sahitya Akademi
Publishes Shakti Vichaar and Vakh in Kashmiri.
Is director of Garhi Studios, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
Paints in the miniature format and exhibits them at Lalit Kala
Akademi, New Delhi.
Is part of Lalit Kala Akademi’s exhibitions in Dubai and Japan. Keshav Malik, who had not reconciled to Santosh’s transition to neotantra
art, writes an excoriating review: ‘His composition is cast
by a calculating brain too impersonal both in its formal geometry
and colour’, the latter proving to be ‘loud, louder, loudest’. A media
slugfest follows, and though Malik’s later reviews are kinder, the two
fail to patch up and become friends.
As part of Festival of India, participates in ‘Contemporary Indian Art’,
‘Santosh’ opens at Gallery Tai In in Seoul, South Korea; his ‘Tantra’
exhibition is shown in Stuttgart, Germany, and South Korea.
Sahitya Kala Parishad honours him as ‘Artist of the Year’.
Is awarded by All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi.
Receives the Kalhana Award from the Kashmir Education and Science
Society, New Delhi, and the Bakshi Memorial Committee Award (J&K
State) for Art and Culture. His works are shown as part of Festival of India in Los Angeles.
His works are part of Festival of India in Japan.
He participates in the second National Biennale at Bharat Bhavan,
Exhibits at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay.
Receives Kala Ratna from All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New
Has an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, and at Dhoomimal
Gallery, New Delhi.
Dies on March 10.
Is awarded D.Litt. posthumously by the University of Jammu.
Government of Jammu and Kashmir felicitates his ‘extraordinary
contribution in the field of art and literature’ posthumously.
Shantiveer Kaul’s book, The Art of G. R. Santosh, is published by
A major exhibition, ‘Awakening: A Retrospective of G. R. Santosh’
opens at DAG, New Delhi. It is accompanied by a book.