Sunday, April 3, 2016

An Evening with Triloke Kaul


The post from 2012 about evolution of modern painting in Kashmir:

 In 1947, just when geographic borders of Kashmir were getting re-defined, a bunch of artists started on a journey that was to alter the borders of Indian art. Six young artists founded the Progressive Artists Group in Bombay. These were FN Souza, SH Raza, KH Ara, MF Husain, SK Bakre and HA Gade. Around same time three men in Kashmir were also going Progressive mentored by the artists from Bombay group. These were S.N. Butt, Triloke Kaul and P.N. Kachru. When SH Raza reached out to these artists in Kashmir in August 1948, the result was formation of 'Progressive Artists Association' in Srinagar in October. It's first exhibition was held in May 1949 and by October that year the exhibition traveled out to Delhi. The two progressive groups continued to inspire each other for many years to come. Raza famously went on to explore the Tantric symbolism in his paintings inspired by Kashmir. In 1950s, Raza went on to mentor one of the best known progressive artists from Kashmir, G.R. Santosh who too worked on Tantric symbolism. 
[can see the work of Bombay group here]

The post from 2011, giving the work of Kashmir Artist group from late 1940s:

VILLAGE SCENE by Trilok Kaul, 1948
Earlier this year I got married. I married someone related to Triloke Kaul. Kashmiri marriage formalities require that the new couple eat-out with relatives of each other. A meeting with Triloke Kaul is what I looked most forward to. I wanted the complete story of the art movement in Kashmir.
And I had something special for him: images from March 1955 issue of Marg: A Magazine of the Arts (Heritage of Kashmir Special Issue) edited by Mulk Raj Anand. The issue carried some of his early works along with that of his colleagues.


In his room the TV was on Tetris mode. I think he plays. He doesn't follow news much. Classical India Music plays, he records it and neatly arranges them by the Ragas.

We talked about the magazine, turns out he helped Mulk Raj Anand edit the particular issue, he even ghost wrote the introduction to the issue He identified the sketches done by him in the issue...most of the sketches of Kashmiri ornaments.


In the magazine, he saw one of his early work: Ajanta. It was done during his Baroda days. He doesn't have it with him. I have promised to send a scan to him. He also asked for a work of S.N. Butt.

And about that iconic self-portrait. I was happy to see that he had a sense of humor. He indulged me when I suggested that he offer me a pose with the cigarette. He even suggested the proper angle. He told me that back in 1950s when that portrait was exhibited in Jehangir Art Gallery, a photographer did capture him against the painting holding onto a cigarette between the lips.

No, he doesn't have most of his old work with him. In 1990, he lost most of his early work to conflict when he was forced to shift to Jammu like other Kashmiri Pandits.


Left: the deity from his ancestral village talked art. 
He talked art and history. How he mentored Santosh and how young Raza greatly influenced all of them. The names of the Kashmiri artists of earlier generation and the politics of the later years.

Here's the audio of the conversation (primarily in Kashmiri):

History of Progressive Art in Kashmir with Triloke Kaul

video link
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