Shivlal Saroah's works raises issues.
As an office boy, while delivering dispatches, young Shivlal Saroha would always keep a sketch book with himself. After his father's demise, he made his ends meet with mother's pension but knew he couldn't make only art for a living and passion.
So, after he got his “first stipend of Rs.200” from an ad agency he was working with, he bought necessary stuff to continue sketching. He sold a few which boosted his confidence and took admission in Delhi College of Art.
Even if Shivlal is still struggling to be counted among the top artists, he has his feet firmly planted. There are two reasons. He has the backing of art connoisseurs like Ebrahim Alkazi who bought his whole show a few years ago and also mounted it at his Art Heritage Gallery, and his technique that places him close to the likes of Gaitonde and Ram Kumar. This time, Art Pilgrim is showcasing his 50-odd works at Lalit Kala Akademi. Called “Resonating Spaces”, the show opens this Friday. Curated by Suneet Chopra, it is 38-year-old Shivlal's journey to various parts of the country like Ladakh, Kashmir and Spiti, etc.
An amalgam of realism, abstract and surrealism, Shivlal's oil and acrylic on canvas works reflect his reaction, his angst and anger on the Dal Lake being used for washing dirty clothes, utensils and bathing. Tourists too dirty them by throwing the garbage, he says adding, “There is a strange hostility among the natives there. They don't mix up with the visitors and generally behave very coldly.” He shows it through “Black fish in the Dal Lake”. He reflects the anger of the Jammu and Kashmir people towards the Army and their apprehension about visitors from across the Valley. He bemoans the creeping urbanisation in Ladakh and in an interesting work reacts to M. F. Husain's acceptance of Qatar citizenship. In this specific work, Husain's famous horses are trying to wake up a sleeping Husain.
To come up with this body of work, Shivlal biked across the country, lived at Dal Lake and Ladakh. Now a name in demand among the promising artists in France, Germany and Italy, Shivlal's journey is looking bright.