Written by Balvinder
The city of Chandigarh owes much to artist Jodh Singh’s innumerable creative contributions that evoke a spiritually-creative aura. The painter, art teacher and promoter breathed his last on Tuesday morning after a brief illness. In fact, his full-throated efforts to promote a vibrant, artistic atmosphere here in Chandigarh were his bigger offerings to the city than his individual artistic outpourings.
Born in Nairobi, he was perhaps the first to hold a one-man show of his paintings, while as a student of the College of Art in 1963. I vividly remember his first show, which was held in a room of the Panjab University library. This encouraged many more students of the time to follow his example, as Singh, a National award winner, was always there to encourage and help young artists to exhibit their talent.
The first ever show that painter Prem Singh and I had presented, in the year 1966, in the foyer of Tagore Theatre, there being no exclusive exhibition gallery available in the city, could not have been possible without Jodh Singh’s whole-hearted prompting and cheering.
In fact, to encourage artists to showcase their work, Jodh Singh also set up a gallery in his home in Sector 11. A fine art academician, his school-time portraits and life studies, which he would render with great freedom and finesse, are still fresh in my mind.
Oil was Jodh Singh’s medium of work, and he would paint with equal ease, both on small-sized canvass and huge murals and his work includes realistic paintings, landscapes, charcoal sketches et al. While assisting him in painting one of his murals on the reverse of pieces of glass sheet, I learnt quite a few lessons of working on a large surface. No wonder he was a well-respected and popular art teacher at the prestigious local government degree college for women, where he served for more than two decades.
If I am here today as an artist, it is because of him. He being a schoolmate of my elder brother had not only introduced me to the Chandigarh School of Art, but also prompted me to join the institution.
With Jodh Singh’s sad demise the city of Chandigarh has lost an artist of great merit, a remarkable art teacher and a committed art promoter. We will miss his enthusiastic spirit and loveable persona. The last rites will be performed at the Sector 25 cremation ground in Chandigarh on Thursday noon.