City-based painter, designer and sculptor Shiv Singh who died at the age of 77 on June 27 was cremated with honours at the Sector 25 crematorium here on Sunday.
A large number of people, including fellow artists, friends who played golf with him and his students who had come from different parts of the region, attended the funeral rites.
“He was the one who would read our minds by our face expressions. He was one of the well-groomed teachers and since he had that little beard, we called him Humayun,” said M D S Sandhu, to whom Singh had taught crafts in upper primary class.
“The best part was that he maintained himself so well that he used to look the same as he was in his 60s. He was the most lovable and humble teacher we had and this is the reason we all classmates are here. He had taught us at Sainik School, Kapurthala, when we were only 10-year-olds. The bonding was such that we used to meet him often,” said Colonel Ravinder Singh.
Another student, Parvinder Takkar, said that Shiv Singh was out of the world. “He never confined us to any particular material during the arts class; he would leave it to us to decide if we wish to use clay, wood, paper or wool to create something interesting. That is how he used to build our interest, especially among the boys who are not much into arts and crafts.”
Recalling the old days, Neelam Man Singh, a theatre artiste, said, “I was closely associated with Shiv Singh, I am a witness to his journey into arts. I liked his colours and the visuals he used to create. He had got into a controversy over his own painting involving the animal and female form. But I personally believe that it was brilliantly done, it was fluid, depicted the free mind of an artist but then we cannot escape the censorship laws.”
Diwan Manna, artist and chairperson of Lalit Kala Academy, said that Shiv Singh was an inalienable part of the city. “His presence was felt, and now his absence will also be felt. He has left remarkable work for our entire fraternity as he had always tried to use a different idiom for his art,” Manna added.
Manmohan Khanna, chairman of the Indian Institute of Architecture and Interior Designing, said that Shiv Singh would always guide him before he would initiate some new project. These days Khanna is promoting Shiv Singh’s book on artwork across the architecture colleges.
Kamal Tiwari, chairman of Sangeet Natak Academy, recalled how Shiv Singh had brought awakening to the field of arts and culture, being the modern artist himself.
Jodh Singh, former president of Punjab Lalit Kala Academy and friend of Shiv Singh since the college days during 1960-63, said, “We shared very close bonding and used to fight like siblings over different opinions. He was in sculpture and I was in fine arts. Still, we would take each other’s help in our work.”
On why Shiv Singh used to wear black clothes, Jodh Singh said that Shiv had got an opportunity to visit Germany on a scholarship, where he found a majority of people wearing black colour and he got inspired. “Secondly, he used to say that if he kept wearing different colours every day, people would forget him but black colour would become his identity and people would always remember him,” he added.
The friends who played golf with Shiv Singh for over 10 years were also there. “We used to admire him for his jolly nature and the way he would dress up every day, with two flowers in his cap. When anyone of us would hit a shot, he would run along the ball and would stand in front of the hole,” said J S Kesar. “We used to bet that whosoever hit Shiv, he would get Rs 500 but it never happened.”