Born on December 25 in Jhelum in present-day Pakistan; his father
Avtar Narain is a lawyer who later turned Gandhian, mother Pushpa
is a homemaker.
Joins Mayo School of Art, Lahore. Exhaustive training helps him
flower as a multi-faceted artist who would go on to create works
in a variety of media such as oils, burnt wood, sculptures in metal,
fibreglass and more.
Wins an art competition organised by Burma Shell Company that gets
him admission to Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay; has to leave the art
school and the city in 1947 due to recurring illness.
The artist is in Lahore at the time of Partition; his family leaves Lahore
for Simla after helping out the last of the refugees migrating to India.
The artist described the scenes in a 2014 interview: ‘I saw killings
every day. My education was completed in January 1949, but I left
Pakistan only after the last refugees had been transported. When I
finished and moved to Simla, where I stayed for four years, I began to
paint man’s cruelty to man.’ The horror of the Partition leaves a lasting impact on his life and art,
giving rise to his well-known Partition paintings, such as Mourning
Enmasse, capturing the grief and trauma associated with this epochal
Goes to Mexico on a scholarship to study at Palacio Nationale de
Belles Artes with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, considered
widely a landmark event in the artist’s career that shaped his oeuvre and distinguished him from other artists of his generation; befriends
artist Frida Kahlo, also the wife of Rivera. Meets renowned American
architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Art critic and curator Gayatri Sinha says of Gujral’s Mexico experience
to livemint.com: ‘It opened up a world of building façade decoration,
the innovative usage of materials and what may be termed as a
national narrative… national art with indigenous roots.’
Makes his first mural for Gandhi Bhawan, Chandigarh.
Wins Lalit Kala Akademi’s national award for painting, and then
again the following year. Marries fellow artist Kiran.
Shows his works in exhibitions in Cairo, Mexico City, Rome, Frankfurt,
Paris, London, Montreal, Hawaii, and Tokyo.
Shows his ‘Paper Collages’ in New Delhi, Bombay, New York, Helsinki,
Stockholm and Madrid. The exhibition also travels to the Russia,
Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil.
Creates landmark murals in ceramics, tiles and machined steel
elements for World Trade Fair, New York (1963), Baroda House, New
Delhi (1964), The Oberoi, New Delhi (1964), Shastri Bhawan, New
Delhi (1968), The Oberoi, Bombay (1972), World Trade Centre, New
York (1972), Jain House, Frankfurt (1972), Diamond House, Antwerp
(1974), Delhi High Court, New Delhi (1975).
Wins the Lalit Kala Akademi’s national award for sculpture.
Punjab state government honours the artist.
Though not a trained architect, designs the much-acclaimed and
awarded embassy of Belgium in New Delhi; as a result, he is granted
license to practice architecture by the Council of Architecture, India;
credits his training at Mayo School of Art and the outlook of its
principal, John Lockwood Kipling, who believed all visual expressions
were one and students were taught ‘to draw, to script, to draft’.
The Belgian government honours the artist with Order of the Crown;
the embassy building is chosen as one of the 1000 best structures of
the twentieth century by the International Forum of Architects. Goes on to design the Goa University campus, UNESCO building
and India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi, the CMC complex in
Hyderabad, Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, and the summer palace
of the Saudi royal family in Riyadh; along with his architect son Mohit,
he also designs Ambedkar Memorial, commissioned by Uttar Pradesh
chief minister Mayawati.
He is conferred with a fellowship of the Indian Council of Architecture.
Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, confers its highest award, Desikottama,
Is honoured with Padma Vibhushan by the Indian government.
Receives an honorary Doctor of Letters from Andhra University.
His autobiography, A Brush With Life, is published.
Undergoes complex surgery in Australia to restore hearing.
Satish Gujral: An Artography is published to accompany a retrospective
of his life’s work at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
‘A Brush with Life’, the last major retrospective of the artist’s work
spanning his entire career, is held at the Indira Gandhi National
Centre for the Arts.
Passes away on March 26 in New Delhi.