Some artists in Punjab are plagiarising paintings created by Sardar Sobha Singh to promote themselves on social media, the family of the legendary painter complained on Thursday.
Such paintings, being circulated by the artists with their watermark, have not only undermined the legacy of Sobha Singh but also hurt his family.
Hirday Paul Singh, the grandson of the painter, said a few artists in Punjab have been using Sobha Singh’s paintings to promote themselves on social media. “Our family friends and admirers of Sardar Sobha Singh informed us about this recently,” said Hirday Paul, who is also secretary general of the Sardar Sobha Singh Memorial Art Society.
A large number of fake prints of original reprints of paintings by Sobha Singh have already been circulated in markets in India and abroad.
“The problem has emerged after offset printing became popular and now social media has added to it,” says Hirday Paul.
People easily get prints of original reprints of Sobha Singh’s paintings, Hirday Paul said, and put them on social media and even on sale by adding their watermark, claiming the work to be theirs.
While some people do it deliberately, Hirday Paul said, a few are ignorant about the implication of the unethical practice and Copyright Act that provides protection to the original work.
“When I told an artist about the punishment for copyright violation, he expressed ignorance,” he said, adding law-enforcing agencies too are ignorant about the law.
Portraits of Sikh gurus such as Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh besides folklore characters like Sohni-Mahiwal are among the most copied works.
Hirday Paul, however, said the family did not want to go for legal course due to the lengthy procedure. “We want people to stop this unethical practice themselves,” Hirday Paul said.
Sobha Singh, who spent most of his life at Andretta near Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, has been one of the most popular artists of the 20th century. His works include paintings of Sikh gurus, Ram Avatar, Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ carrying the cross, Bhagat Farid, Sant Ravidass, Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Omar Khayyam, Gaddan and Sohni-Mahiwal. A big panel, depicting the evolution of Sikh history, with Guru Nanak Dev with Bala and Mardana on one side and Guru Gobind Singh on the other, dons the walls of Parliament. Around two dozen prints of his paintings are available at present.