He was born to paint; he was, after all, Sobha Singh. A three-day exhibition comprising photographs depicting the life of the illustrated painter of Punjab began at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Wednesday, in commemoration of Sobha Singh’s 112th birth anniversary that falls today.
On November 29, 1901, Sobha Singh was born, a contemporary artist of Punjab who contributed immensely to the art by promoting Sikh history and Punjabi culture. His series and portraits of the Sikh Gurus, especially the first Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the 10th Guru Gobind Singh Ji has dominated Punjabis’ perception to such an extent that even today, we imagine the Gurus through Sobha Singh’s canvas.
His impressive portraits of national heroes such as Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Kartaar Singh Sarabha along with paintings of legendary romantics like Sohni-Mahiwal and Heer-Ranjha are very popular. Most of the photographs of the artist on display have been taken by HS Bajwa.
Organised by the Punjab Kala Parishad, there have also been invited four well-known painters from Punjab — Shakti Singh, Sikander Singh, Anoop Sharma and Prabhjot Singh — who paint live and explain their works and art to the public.
Sikander is a Chandigarh-based artist who is making a portrait of Sobha Singh using only the colour black. “My medium is oil on canvas — a highly technical method where the effect of white is coming from the canvas itself. I am only playing around with black,” he tells us, adding that painting Sobha was his childhood dream. Sikander says that as a child, it was only Sobha Singh’s work that gave him a perception of what Guru Nanak Dev ji might have looked like.
Rohtak-based artist Shakti Singh is deeply inspired by Sobha Singh’s realism. “The realism I learnt from his paintings is being given back to him today. Here, I paint two women friends with a realistic approach towards art,” he adds.
While Prabhjot and Anoop also have something to offer as a tribute to the artist, the former, while painting Sobha in his own imaginative way, explains about his work. “My colour palette and Sobha Singh ji go along well. Today, we are remembering him because of his relation with the palette, brush and canvas. So, through my painting, I have captured Sobha Singh in all that gave him recognition,” he says.
On Thursday, internationally acclaimed Punjabi artist Jarnail Singh was honoured by Sarwan Singh Phillaur, minister for cultural affairs, Punjab.