Saturday, June 8, 2013

Factors that drive a socially sensitive artist’s oeuvre

Born in 1945 in Kerala, Yusuf Arakkal had to go through several ups and downs. He chose art as a career against his family’s wishes and ran away from his home to Bangalore. He spent life on the city streets for more than a year, and worked at construction sites and hotels during this tough period. But his resolve to become an artist remained intact.

The socially sensitive practitioner depicts the everyday miseries of the dispossessed, their helplessness and even their utter stoicism in the face of tragedy through his art. His work is largely about prevailing urban predicament and pervading sense of loneliness, exuding lingering ‘melancholic’ element.

Yusuf Arakkal is in constant touch with an anguished being, invariably disturbed, somewhere deep inside him. It’s the human presence – agony and aspirations - that arouses his attention and urges his creative inner space. He is a keen observer of the life and faces around that he imbibes and processes in his artistic realm, often depicting a solitary human in different poses, at times.

A reflection of Yusuf and Sara Arakkal’s love for art was in a gallery that they together formed. She recounts: “He was the passionate artist, engrossed for hours in his paintings. When the visuals emerged I was amazed and proud. More than his words I understood his silences. I grew up seeing, inhaling and breathing art under the wings of an artist for almost four decades. I knew some day I would follow his footsteps into the art world.”

In moving from one socially relevant theme to another, Yusuf Arakkal demonstrates that his job as an artist is to find a clear, simple way to communicate through a language not exclusive to one set of rigid individuals bound by ideology, religion, or community, but by a broader philosophy of life that can cut through all such barriers.

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