Artist Profile
Profile of Yusuf Arakkal

Yusuf Arakkal was born at Chavaghad, Kerala in 1945. He combined work at HAL where he became a technician dye- maker, with studying art at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad to get a diploma in painting in 1973. His early abstract paintings with colors reflecting the superficial glamour of city life were followed in the mid-' 70s by compositions with wheels, drainage pipes and other geometrisized structures which referred to wretched living conditions of the urban poor. Soon his concern with people and wider social issues made him focus on the human figure, though always seen as bound with, even defined by the environment. After a few canvases of a partly super realistic nature dealing with drought, famine, untouchability, etc. He reached his constant style which has a link with a realist basis but generalizes it with a graceful, if non-specific roughness. One of such paintings depicting inhabitants of pipes and pavements won him a national award in 1983. Arakkal works in series of related images- from sensual, icon-like ladies to sick in hospital beds and wheelchairs, urchins playing with kites and paper masks, ironic images of paper politicians and empty chairs bearing human presence. "Throughout he has depicted working -class and village people set against dilapidated walls, among shaky planar divisions, hazy texturing and diffused to sharp and vibrating arbitrary chiaroscuro, all partially enclosed by the frames-within-aflame motif. His figures in moods ranging from vaguely atmospheric to restless, dejection, quiet joy and sensuousness, are flattened as well as plastic, emerging from and nearly dissolving into their backgrounds. Arakkal has worked also with sculpture in wood, stone, ceramic and bronze, did collages, graphics and water colors. He writes poetry and articles on art. He has held over 35 solo shows in India - Bangalore, New Delhi, Hydrabad. Cochin, Trivandrum, Calicut, Itichur, Calcutta Bombay and Madras. His major participations include many state and all-India exhibitions, Indian Artists in Byelorussia and Moscow 1971,Contemporary Indian Art, Beaumont 1985, USA, Fukuoka, Japan 1985. Havana, Seoul, 6th India International Triennale, New Delhi 1986,9th Biennale, Sao Paulo, 3rd Asian Biennale, Dhaka 1987, Contemporary Indian Art, CCA, New York 1993, Victoria, British Colombia, Lee Arthur Studio, New York, Hong Kong 1994, Christie's and Sotheby's auction, London 1995. He held solo exhibition abroad at Limousine, France 1992, Havre, France 1993, Katmandu 1994, Singapore 1994, New York and London organized by The Gallery 1996.

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Past Exhibitions (4)
Yusuf  Arakkal