The art of painting has a rich history in Jammu and Kashmir. Traditional painting styles of Jammu and Kashmir bear influences of Mughal, Gujarati, and Rajasthani styles of painting. Epics, puranas, court scenes, and events in the lives of kings are the main subjects of the traditional paintings of Jammu and Kashmir. The plant and animal life in Kashmir has also been depicted along with the scenic beauty of this region. However, over the years, the art form evolved and painters, today, compose artworks on a wide array of subjects that range from the nature’s splendour in Kashmir to the turbulent social scenario in the region, and from flowers and greens that beautify Kashmir’s landscape, to the shikaras and houseboats that are a part of J&K’s identity. Painters of Jammu and Kashmir also depict the rich culture of the region and the hospitable people here. This article introduces you to some of the very famous painters of Jammu and Kashmir (enlisted in alphabetical order).
List of Famous Painters of Jammu and Kashmir
Arshad Sauleh: Born in 1971, he is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist who specializes in figurative painting, and also a radio broadcaster. He has been a part of many art exhibitions and has been teaching art at the Government College of Education in Srinagar. He has received many awards for his work in art.
Dina Nath Walli: Born in 1908, he was a water colour artist and poet. He was a part of the Modern Art movement in Jammu and Kashmir and used to paint daily scenes of Kashmir. He has an album of 12 paintings to his credit and is the recipient of many prestigious awards. His paintings are mainly impressionist but he had good knowledge of surrealism, cubism, expressionism as well as pop art and abstract art.
Gulam Rasool Santosh: Born in 1929 near old Srinagar, he earned a scholarship to learn fine arts in Baroda. He was best known for his themes that were inspired by Kashmir Shaivism. Apart from painting, he also wrote plays, poems and essays.
Kishori Kaul: Born in 1939, she was inclined to art since childhood, but it was while suffering from tuberculosis that she created several paintings. The art kept her busy and helped her cope with the disease. Later, she took formal education in art and emerged as one of the most famous painters of Kashmir. She has held many exhibitions and received prestigious awards for her artworks.
K. Khosa: Born in 1940, he has been working as a professional painter. He has held solo shows in many major Indian cities and taken part in national and international exhibitions. He is the recipient of some notable awards for his work in art.
Maheshwar Nath Dhar: He was the first royal artist of Kashmir. Impressed by his paintings, Maharaja Pratap Singh appointed him as the Royal Artist. He painted the Maharaja and his ancestors and was mostly under royal patronage. It is said that he was his own teacher in art and that his inner voice guided him.
Manohar Kaul: Born in 1925 in Srinagar, he is regarded as one of the most famous Kashmiri painters of the 20th century. He lived till 1999 and his works have been put on display in the National Gallery of Modern Art in India.
P.N. Kachru: He holds a diploma in Fine Arts (Painting). He was among the founders of the National Cultural Front. He has held many exhibitions across India and presented papers and taken part in seminars on Kashmiri art and culture.
Ratan Parimoo: Born in 1936, he is an important art historian and painter of modern India. His paintings are on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art, India. He has worked as the teacher of Art History at the MS University in Vadodara and is a member of the Baroda Group.
Rouble Nagi: Born in 1980, she specializes in sculptures, paintings and art installations. She has created more than 800 murals and held over 150 exhibitions. She has founded the Rouble Nagi Art Foundation and the Rouble Nagi Design Studio.
Sajood Sailani: Born in 1936, he was a Kashmiri painter and also a playwright, theatre artist, cartoonist and poet. He established the Wani Art Gallery and was honoured by the government of Jammu and Kashmir. He lived till 2020.
Triloke Kaul: He was a part of the first generation of artists who formed the Progressive Artists Association. He studied painting from the Maharaja Sayaji Rao University of Baroda and held the position of director at the School of Design.
Veer Munshi: Born in Srinagar, he studied Fine Arts from Baroda. Initially, he painted landscapes depicting the nature’s beauty of Kashmir and later portrayed the turmoil in the region. He is one of the most famous artists in India.
This was a list of some of the most famed painters of Jammu and Kashmir. Indeed, many great artists were born and raised in the Kashmiri soil. While the art of some of them flourished in their homeland, some others had to leave Kashmir due to the socio-political scenario in their time. These accomplished artists from J&K have earned global recognition and their work will be remembered for years to come.