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Below: Photos of Malkit Singh and of the painting, 'Jago' (detail ), are by Amarjit Singh Chandan.


Nostalgic Expressions:
The Art of Malkit Singh





Great expectations often force a person to take flight to a world unknown. The escape, for some, is inevitable. The urge to break free from the shackles of ignorance and graduate to the surroundings of intellectuals is unshakable.

Memories, also, refuse to fade and if you are an artist, they keep emerging in your creations.

It’s those memories of early life spent in the tiny village of Landé in Moga district of the East Punjab of his mother that find deep impressions in the works of now handigarh-based artist, Malkit Singh.

For him, the strokes on the canvas are a reaction to what he sees in society.

Even though he discovered a deep sense of admiration for nature, for the forms and patterns offered by the natural setting of his home, Malkit was hardly aware that he was destined to be an artist or even fathom ‘who’ an artist is.

“I felt deeply connected with what I saw around myself. But at that time, I knew drawing as a subject in my school, not as an art form,” says Malkit, who, on the insistence of a friend, went on to study arts at the Simla Art College in 1961 and Government College of Art, Chandigarh, in 1962.

Having recently returned from Japan, where he was invited by the Dhillon Marty Foundation to paint and show his works to Japanese art enthusiasts, Malkit carries back a deep admiration for the natives, who he feels have a deep understanding of the arts.

“I have never witnessed such enthusiasm among children for wanting to learn art, at least not in India. Art is part of their education curriculum and parents encourage their children to create,” says the recipient of many an award, including the
prestigious Lalit Kala Akademi honour.

“What the Foundation does … is an amazing way to bring different cultures together. An artist needs to evolve with time. He can’t do that sitting at home,” says the artist who skilfully mixes the past and the present in his works.

Malkit is pained by the absence of encouragement towards arts in Punjab. Despite being a state with a sizeable population of artists, their names remain in oblivion.

Who is to blame?

“The education system and the government, both. Nobody is doing anything to promote the arts,” says he.

“Tell, how many museums do we have in [East] Punjab? Even if there are a few, how many people visit them?” the question comes curtly. “People should realise that art makes life beautiful. The creative purify society. Parents should encourage their children to take up arts, only then we will grow as an art enthusiastic country,” he adds.

What about corporates setting-up studios for artists to encourage art?

“That would mean business of art. Though there is nothing bad in selling art, if it is worth it, but you should never paint for the purpose of selling. Greed can rob the soul from a painting,” concludes the artist, whose many paintings have been bought by private collectors, around the globe.


[Courtesy: The Post on Sunday]

January 8, 2012 

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The Art of Malkit Singh"

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