Yusuf Arakkal passes away

Seminal contemporary artist Yusuf Arakkal passed away on Tuesday morning in Bengaluru. He is survived by his wife Sara Arakkal and son Shibu Arakkal. The senior figurative artist was unwell for the past few months.

The artist recently released a book called Faces of Creativity, which is a comprehensive collection of portraits of fellow artists. One of its kind, it was the first time, an Indian artist had done portraits of other artists. The artist even held a show of the portraits in Chennai.

Born in Chavakkad in Kerala, the 71-year-old artist studied art at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. Though he started with abstracts, figuration entered his oeuvre eventually, with the artist poignantly depicting social issues. He was also a sculptor and a poet. He won the National Award for his art in 1983.

Senior artist S.G. Vasudev, condoling his death, said, "He was one of the most significant figurative artist with a style of his own. He has influenced so many young artists."

Arakkal was known for his philanthropist interests as well, wherein he bought artworks of youngsters when the gallery system was still at its infancy in Bengaluru. “As if to continue this all inclusive social cause for artists, he initiated Sara Arakkal Gallery in his wife’s name and the annual exhibitions they regularly held would have at least 50 artists. This is a testimony to his idea of being in an art community,” said Anil Kumar, art critic and art historian.

Yusuf Arakkal was one of the most popular faces in the elite society of Bengaluru. From the classical Mysore Dasara exhibitions till the recent U.B.City art exhibitions, he was a regular participant.

He was also a cultural ambassador of the art scenes of Kerala and Karnataka.

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