In the early eighties I travelled around India, Nepal and Pakistan over a period of around 9 months. I was fortunate to meet Sobha Singh the great artist at his residence in Andretta. This is a picture of him I took using the Pentax SLR camera I had with me then.
In my naivety I even asked whether he would teach me to paint! To my surprise he agreed, suggesting that I make arrangements to stay in a cottage nearby. But alas it was not to be, because for one I do not have the gift to be a painter and secondly, time and money were tight.
Born on 29 November 1901 Sobha Singh learnt and mastered painting by self practice. Later he joined the British India army as a draughtsman and was posted at various places in Iraq. He studied European Paintings and got inspiration from the works of English painters.
In 1923 he left army and worked from his studios at Amritsar, Lahore (1926) and Delhi (1931). At Delhi, Sobha Singh got the opportunity to participate in art exhibitions and won several award and medals. Portrait painting was his forte.
In 1946 Sobha Singh went back to Lahore but was forced to leave due to events (partition of India). He settled in Andretta, a picturesque village in the lap of Himalayas and stayed here till his last.
During his 38 year stay at Andretta, Sobha Singh painted hundreds of paintings, his main focus being the Sikh Gurus, their life and work. He also painted impressive portraits of national heroes and leaders like Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Sobha Singh's painting of Sohni Mahiwal, one of the most popular love legends of Punjab gave him enormous fame. He got several awards and was felicitated by several organizations. He was honoured with Padamshree, one of the National awards by President of India.
The great painter passed away on 22 August 1986.
Pictures courtesy of http://www.sobhasinghartist.com/