In 1969, Baroda was a city ravaged by communal violence. Riots burned in various mohallas and the ideas of communal harmony that artist Gulammohammed Sheikh had grown up with seemed distant. In Surendranagar, where he had spent his childhood, he had been aware of religious segregation but had until then observed “that there was a kind of mutual respect for each other’s beliefs despite the distance” between the two communities. Now, he found the sectarian violence bewildering. “For the first time, my identity was questioned. It made me aware of the politics that we had brushed aside until then. Until the ’60s, most Indian artists felt politics would pollute their art and should be kept out of their work. Likewise, personal narratives were generally kept out of artistic expression. However, we thought our experiences could help us find our way,” says Sheikh, 82.
Gulammohammed Sheikh : An artist of the changing world
By Vandana Kalra | The Indian Express
2 April 2019