Gulam Mohammed Sheikh (b. 1937) is an artist, writer and educationist. In his tenure as teacher of Art History and Professor of Painting at Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, and through numerous visitorships, residencies and publications he has contributed to a renewed understanding of cross cultural themes in artistic pedagogy, in an Indian and international context. Sheikh bridges a historical appreciation of art and art practice with an engagement with contemporary socio-political concerns. He has exhibited widely and internationally in individual and group shows that include: Mappings, The Guild, Mumbai (2004); Kahat Kabir, Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi (1998); Returning Home (a retrospective of work from 1968-1985) at Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris (1985); etc. A founder member of the artist collective, Group 1890, Sheikh’s numerous group exhibitions include: Chalo India, A New Era of Indian Art, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2008); Horn Please: Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art, Kunstmuseum, Bern; New Narratives: Contemporary Art from India, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago (2007); Edge of Desire, curated by Chaitanya Sambrani, shown at New Delhi and Mumbai (2006), New York, Mexico City, and Berkeley, California (2005) and Perth, Australia (2004). He has lectured on Indian art in Europe, UK, Australia etc. including a lecture tour of US universities of Princeton, New York, Georgetown, North Carolina, Duke and Yale in March-April 2013. Sheikh is the recipient of numerous awards which include the Padma Bhushan (2014), the Padma Shri (1983) by the Government of India, the Kalidas Samman (2002), the Ravi Varma Puraskaram (2009). In 2010, he was conferred D. Litt. by Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata.
Born in Surendranagar, Gujarat, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh began writing and publishing poetry and short stories while at school. On moving to Baroda in 1955 for studies in Fine Arts, he came in contact with eminent literateur Suresh Joshi which resulted in three decades of active association in the movement of contemporary poetry in Gujarat. Bhogilal Gandhi (Editor: Vishwamanav) and Prabodh Chokshi (Editor: Kshitij) published first series of free-verse (achhandas) poems beginning in the late fifties. Besides this he has designed journals and books and introduced contemporary art in literary publications brought out by Suresh Joshi, edited and published Vrishchik a groundbreaking journal of art and ideas with Bhupen Khakhar 1969-73. He’s done linocuts for a special number of Vrishchik on the poems of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. On returning from a three year sujourn in England he began a series of free-form prose Gher Jatan (Returning Home) in 1968. Athawa, his poetry collection with personal illustrations was published in 1974, the appended edition of which appeared in 2013. A cycle of six Jaisalmer poems set to music by Vanraj Bhatia was performed by Paranjoti Choir in Bombay and later in Europe. His poems have been published in various Gujarati literary journals including Vishwamanav, Kshitij, Kumar, Sanskriti, Milap, etc. Translations have appeared in Sakshatkar (Hindi), Satyakatha (Marathi), Vagaratha, New Writing in India (Penguin), Another India, Indian Poetry Today, Aspect (Australia), Chicago Review, etc. Books include American Chitrakala (trans.), 1964, Athawa, collection of poems 1974. Athawa Ane, an appended edition of Athawa, 2013, and Drushya Kala, Gnanagangotri series 30, S.P. University, Vallabhvidyanagar, 1996.
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