Padma Shri Haku Shah breathes his last, leaves behind a shining legacy of art rooted in tradition

Veteran artist Haku Shah leaves for heavenly abode leaving behind a legacy of artistic contribution. An artist, an author and a cultural anthropologist Haku Shah had been conferred Padma Shri and he was the person behind the founding of Shilpgram in Udaipur.

Haku Shah

Veteran painter Padma Shri Haku Shah left for his heavenly abode at the age of 85 on March 21, 2019, at his residence in Ahmedabad due to a cardiac arrest. Widely known for his folk and tribal-inspired art, Shah was a Gandhian who established the first of its kind Shilpgram -Crafts Village in Udaipur, Rajasthan during the 80s. Contemporary artisans, ceramists, craftsmen, designers, visual artists and various other creators still practise their skills at the village to create art, which is then exhibited and sold during various exhibitions.

Haku Shah was a Gandhian, and led a very simple and minimal life. This value reflected in his work. In his art he merged the traditional and folk elements with modern art to create brilliant imagery replete with his dynamic lines. Never really influenced by the ongoing art sytles, Shah remained true to his aesthetic sensibilities and continued pursuing his style till the very end. He has been honoured with multiple accolades including the reputed Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship, Kala Shiromani and the Kala Ratna award.

Born in a humble hamlet called Valod in Gujarat in 1934, Shah was also a noted culture anthropologist. He graduated from MS University and continued to stay in Baroda, his work is a significant addition to the Baroda school of art. His extensive research on folk, tribal art, culture and especially the Nirguna Poetry of the Bhakti movement helped him becoming an author of international repute. Shah has taught the fellows of Gandhi Ashram and has played an important role in setting up of Tribal Museum at Gujarat Vidyapith.

The entire art fraternity of Gujarat and of India mourns his loss and remembers his vast contribution to the country’s artistic landscape.

The veteran’s last rites were performed by friends and family in Ahmedabad on March 22.

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