Is born on 12 September in Bombay.
Completes his six-year diploma course in painting from Government School of Art and Craft, Madras.
Wins the Government of Madras scholarship to study textile designing
at the Government Textile Institute, Madras. His training as a textile designer reflects in his early works of the 1950s.
Has a solo exhibition at Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madras.
Completes his diploma in photography from the Lingham’s Institute of Photography, Madras.
Has an exhibition at the Theosophical Society, Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh.
Teaches at the Rishi Valley School, Madanpalle. Surrounded by young students, this stint brings spontaneity and energy to his work.
Joins the Progressive Painters Association, Madras.
Wins an award for his painting, Winter Night, from the Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar. Is part of a group exhibition on contemporary Indian art organised
by the Government of India and sent to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia and the U.S.S.R.
Participates in Lalit Kala Akademi’s national exhibitions of art.
Wins an award from the Shilpa Kala Parishad, Patna. Participates in the first ‘South East Asian Exhibition’, Manila.
Wins the Punjab Government’s silver medal from the Academy of Fine Arts, Amritsar.
Is part of a group show on contemporary Indian Art in Villa Hugel, Germany. Joins the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, as exhibition officer. Stays in the position till 1963. This is when he comes across a book by British
anthropologist Verrier Elwin, considered the foremost authority on tribals in India. He tours Bastar, the largest tribal district of India in the central region of the country, making way for tribal vocabulary in his art.
Is part of a group show in U.A.E. organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi.
Is part of a group show in the Latin American countries organised by
the Government of India.
Participates in the ‘1st International Exhibition of Fine Arts’, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. Participates in the ‘Commonwealth Art Today’ exhibition at
the Commonwealth Institute, London. Is part of ‘Indian Art Today’, a group show in Bulgaria organised by
the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi.
Wins the President of India’s Silver Plaque at the 33rd Annual Art Exhibition of All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi. Has a solo show at the Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi.
The exhibition ‘Recent Paintings by Sultan Ali’ is held at the Kumar Art Gallery, New
Delhi. Participates in an exhibition organised by the Krupp Family along
with the cultural authority of the Federal Republic of Germany at Essen, West Germany. His show, ‘Exhibition of Drawings’, is held at the Triveni Gallery, New Delhi, and Chemould Gallery, Bombay.
Is part of the group show, ‘Art Now from India’, at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, U. K. The exhibition ‘Fifteen Paintings and Three Drawings by J. Sultan Ali’ is held at the Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi.
Wins the national award for drawing at the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. Participates in the 33rd Venice Biennale, and the Biennale of Lugano, Switzerland.
Participates in the 9th Biennale of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Participates in the 36th annual exhibition of the Fine Arts & Crafts
Society, School of Art, Chandigarh, organised by the Chandigarh Lalit
Kala Akademi. One-man shows are held at the Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi, and Gallery Chemould, Bombay.
Participates in the first International Triennale, New Delhi. Has an exhibition of his works at Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi. Takes up residence at Cholamandal Artists’ Village outside Madras. Takes a break from colour in the coming years so as not to distract from the message of the painting.
John Parker, an American, visits Cholamandal to view Sultan Ali’s
The exhibition, ‘Drawings by J. Sultan Ali’, is held at the Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi.
Participates in the second International Triennale in New Delhi. ‘Bhayanak Rasa’, his solo show, is held at the Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi.
The exhibition, ‘Ink Drawings by J. Sultan Ali’, is held at the India Ink Gallery, Los Angeles. ‘Sapodo: Paintings Based on the Theme of the Serpent’, an important exhibition, is held at the Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi.
Participates in the third International Triennale, New Delhi. His solo show is held at the Sarla Art Centre, Madras.
Wins an award from the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore.
Wins the national painting award from the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. Participates in the fourth International Triennale, New Delhi. ‘Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings on the Theme of Life by J. Sultan Ali and Graphic Prints by Mumtaz J. A. Khan’ is held at the Surya Galerie, Freinsheim, Federal Republic of Germany.
Participates in the exhibition, ‘Modern Asian Art: India, China and Japan, Part I’, at the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan.
One-man show is held at the Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi.
Is part of the ‘Indian Contemporary Art’ exhibition, Federal Republic of
Participates in the All India Artists Conference, Calcutta.
Is part of the exhibition, ‘Neo Tantra’, organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, for display in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Wins the silver plaque of the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society for his contribution to the 2nd Veteran Artists Exhibition, New Delhi.
Is conferred fellowship of the Tamil Nadu Oviam Nankalai Kuzhu (Tamil Nadu State Lalit Kala Akademi). A retrospective is held at the same time. Participates in the 3rd Asian Art Biennale, Bangladesh. Has a one-man show at Sakshi Gallery, Bombay.
Has a solo exhibition at Iwalewahaus University of Bayreuth, West
Has an exhibition of his drawings at Gallerie 88, Calcutta.
Passes away on 12 September.