J.Sultan Ali

An artist who defies classification, J. Sultan Ali was born in 1920 in Mumbai. He gained a Diploma in Painting from the Government College of Arts and Crafts in Chennai. He continued his education and studied Textile Designing at the Government Textile Institute on a scholarship given by the Government of Madras. Like a lot of eminent artists during that time, he was trained under the prodigious sculpturer D.P Roy Chowdhury. The driving force behind his work was the inspiration he drew from the tribal art of India and the popular folk and mythological tales. So varied were his sources of inspiration that it is difficult to pin down exactly one form of folk art that inspired him. He can be read as an amalgamation of varied traditional sources which manifested itself in his popular Ganesha and Naga-Panchika series. Later in life, in order to further aid his pictorial language, he turned to calligraphic symbols and tried to imbibe and convey their philosophical depth in his own work. He was honoured with the Lalit Kala Akademi Award in the year 1966 and 1978. He was appointed as the Exhibition director of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi from 1954-1969. He also served as the President of the Artists Handicraft Association, Chennai from the year 1977 to 1980 and was honoured with the Senior Fellowship by the Government of India in the year 1988. The artist passed away in the year 1990.;