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Renowned artist Satish Gujral dies

New Delhi: Satish Gujral, one of India’s best known artists and architects, has died in his Delhi home, his family said on Friday. He was 94.

Gujral, who was renowned for his versatility across different mediums, died on Thursday night of old age reasons.

He was the brother of former prime minister I K Gujral and is survived by his wife Kiran, daughters Alpana and Raseel and son Mohit.

“The noted painter and architect passed away peacefully at 10.30 last night in his home. He died of old age,” the artist’s nephew and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral told PTI.

Gujral, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, was an architect, painter, muralist, sculptor and graphic artist.

His artworks were heavily inspired by the turbulence of his early years, including the illness that impaired his hearing as a child and the Partition of the subcontinent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the artist, who was born in 1925 in Jhelum in pre-Partition west Punjab and not just witnessed the division of the country but also helped several refugees cross the border safely.

“Satish Gujral Ji was versatile and multifaceted. He was admired for his creativity as well as the determination with which he overcame adversity,” Modi wrote on Twitter.

He said Gujral’s intellectual thirst took him far and wide, yet he remained attached to his roots.

“Saddened by his demise. Om Shanti,” the Prime Minister added.

Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said the nation would always remember Gujral’s contributions in the field of art and culture.

“May his soul rest in peace,” he wrote.

Gujral’s familiar works include the alphabet mural on the outside wall of the Delhi High Court. He also designed the Belgian embassy in Delhi.

He received his training in art first at Lahore’s Mayo School of Art and then at the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai.

One of the major turning points in his artistic career was when he got a scholarship to travel to Mexico. His interactions with Mexican painter Diego Riviera went on have a deep influence on his work.

 “Unlike many of his peers, who went to Paris or London in the early 1950s, Gujral went to Mexico City to study with Diego Rivera and Siqueiros. Gujral’s was a versatile practice spanning painting, sculpture and architecture. RIP,” curator and artist Ranjit Hoskote said on Twitter. Adwaita Gadnayak, director general of Delhi’s National Gallery of Modern Art, said the artist’s brilliance lay in his “ability to use his creativity to the fullest in many forms  and ways”.

 “His highlight happened in 1952, when he got a scholarship to study at the revered Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where he was apprenticed under renowned artists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros – who were remarkable figures of the 20th-century art scene. To have Frida Kahlo and Octavio Paz as his friends became the important point of synergy,” he said.

Several others also mourned his death.

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