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The First Ever Retrospective Exhibition Of Legendary Artist J P Singhal Launched Open For Public



(L-R) G.G. Waghmare, Dean, JJ Institute of Applied Art, Umesh Mehra, Juhi Chawla, Poonam Sinha, Author, Photographer Pradeep ChandraLegendary artist J P Singhal’s first ever retrospective exhibition was previewed yesterday at a gala event at Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai. Titled, “A Retrospective,” the exhibition showcases over one hundred original paintings of the late J P Singhal, chronologically divided into six periods of his life. The event was also marked with number of artists, actors, writers and glitterati including Juhi Chawla, Pooman Sinha, Vishal Bhardwaj, Prahlad Kakkar, Sameer Mondal, Parvez Damania, Maria Goretti, Umesh Mehra, Zeba Kohli, Brinda Miller among many others paying tributes to the Master also known as India’s Leonardo Da Vinci.

A national award winner and India’s highest selling artist across all forms, J P Singhal has painted over 2700 original works which were reproduced over 800 million times. “In his early phase my father was greatly influenced by the ‘wash technique’ in water colours used by the artists of the Bengal school and the flowing lines of Chugtai. This genre of art was very different from the contemporary style adopted by artists of that era,” says Dinesh Singhal, Director, J P Singhal Foundation.

“With images that were realistic, distinct and clear, an overall look that was well-finished with soft, smooth and gentle controlled brush strokes, were his signature style paintings. Be it mythological themes, Indian beauties, film stars or rural folk, he evolved a style that was acclaimed by both the popular and critical audiences,” he adds.

The exhibition, ‘A Retrospective: J P Singhal’ displayed paintings from six decades of his career. The first section comprised of his works between 1950 and 1960. Devoted to the Meerut period, these works comprised of paintings done at the start of his career. The next section featured works done in Mumbai between 1960 and 1970 where he focused on mythological paintings and village beauties. The third section featured works between 1970 and 1990, comprising of works largely devoted to rural India. The fourth, fifth and sixth sections focused on his works from 1980 to 2000, 2000 to 2010 and 2005 to 2014. They focused on film industry related works and black & white photography; recreation of Ajanta & Ellora frescos; and sculptures and abstract forms respectively.

“In the late seventies, enthralled by J P Singhal’s works on rural India, Raj Kapoor invited the former to concieve the look of Zeenat Aman for the film Satyam Shivam Sundaram. So enchanted was Bollywood with the refreshing feel which Singhalsaab introduced that an instant and long association was immediately forged. Through his camera and styling, he conceived the creative feel of several blockbuster movies like Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Shaan, Mr. India, Henna, Tridev, Rocky, Border, Dil, Gadar-Ek Prem Katha, Hero, Betaab and over 150 other films,” says Pradeep Chandra, photographer and friend of J P Singhal for many years.

While working with his friend MF Husain on Gajgamini and Meenaxi, he was drawn towards contemporary art. His curiosity about this new style made him reinvent himself as a contemporary artist. He nurtured his feeling by creating a series of paintings in modern art. In his own words, to satisfy and pamper the child (Shishu) inside him, he made an attempt to create this art and enjoyed at the fullest while doing so.

“J P Singhal and JJ Institute of Applied Art have a very strong association. The school was close to his heart and his first solo exhibition was held here. So we felt it appropriate that his first retrospective exhibition also be held here. Even though more than 800 million reproductions adorned the walls of Indian homes, most of the originals were never made available to the public for viewing. Through exhibitions like these we would like our students and all art aficionados to appreciate and enjoy the works of this great artist,” concludes Prof. Shri G.G. Waghmare, Dean, JJ Institute of Applied Art.