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Yusuf Arakkal View Artworks of Yusuf Arakkal Back to Artist

Yusuf Arakkal was born at Chavaghad, Kerala in 1945. He combined work at HAL where he became a technician dye- maker, with studying art at the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad to get a diploma in painting in 1973. 

Yusuf Arakal’s art is primarily preoccupied with touching the chords of lives of those who live on the fringes of society, its margins. The poor urban city-dwellers, the dispossessed, the disenfranchised without any money or glory or social prestige to cover themselves with, become the subjects of his paintings. Arakkal depicts their helpnessness as well as dismal living conditions The character of these dispossessed subjects also comes through strongly in these paintings, their resilience and the stoicism that comes to characterise them as they face tragedy repeatedly, Arakkal captures these poignantly through his work.

His early paintings were studies in abstract of the lives of the city dwellers. He used a profusion of bright colours to depict their situation. Later, his growing concern with social issues began to dominate his canvas more and more.


In keeping with his partiality for somber shades, Arakkal employs earthy shades with an occasional dab of yellow or crimson. He concentrates on the texture of his canvases and gives them a grainy, rough surface, reminiscent of timeworn, peeling, cracked walls. Several of Arakkal's canvases focus on a solitary human in various poses.


 Yusuf Arakkal has held over 38 shows in Bangalore, Madras, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Mumbai and New Delhi.  He has also exhibited in London, France, New York, Honk Kong and Singapore. He received the Lalit Kala Akademi Award in 1979 and in 1981, the Shiromani Kala Puruskar from the Government of India, in 1983, and the award of the Third Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1986.


Yusuf Arakkal passed away in October 2016.




  1980 Specialization in Graphic Print Making, The National Academy Community Studios, Garhi, New Delhi

  1973 Diploma in Painting, Chitrakala Parishat College of Art, Bangalore


Selected Solo Exhibitions

  2011 'An Inner Fire', Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi

  2008 ‘The Street’, presented by Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi and Gallery Sanskriti, Kolkata at Gallery Sanskriti, Kolkata

  2007 ‘The Age of Innocence’, presented by S. A. Fine Arts, London and Galerie Sara Arakkal, Bangalore at La Galleria, London

  2007 ‘The Street’, Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi and Aicon Gallery, Palo Alto

  2007 ‘In a Figurative Identity’, Easel Art Gallery, Singapore

  2007 Easel Art Gallery, Singapore

  2004 Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai

  2002 The Nehru Centre, London

  2001 At the Emirate Towers, Dubai, UAE

  2001 Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  2000 ART INC., New Delhi

  2000 Art Indus, New Delhi

  1999 ABC Gallery, Banaras

  1998 The Discerning Eye Gallery, H.K. Museum of Art, Visual Art Centre, Hong Kong

  1998 A Gallery, New York

  1998 Gallery Tokeidai, Saporo, Japan

  1998 Gallery Shes Asahikawa, Japan

  1998 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1997 Taj Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1996 Air Gallery, London

  1996 Wallace Gallery, Chelsea, New York

  1996 Rashtriya Lalit kala Kendra, Bhubaneshwar

  1994 Art Forum Gallery, Singapore

  1994 Srijana Contemporary Art Gallery - Kathmandu, Nepal

  1993 Gallerie Taormina Del Arte-Le Havre, France

  1992 Relays De Monts-Siux, Limousin, France

  1992 Genesis Art Gallery, Kolkata

  1990,91,92 Mumbai

  1990 Art Heritage, New Delhi

  1989 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

  1986 Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi

  1985 Ahmedabad

  1984 Indore

  1980 New Delhi

  1980 Jabalpur

  1980 Gwalior

  1978 Bhopal

  1978 Gwalior

  1976 Bhopal

  1976 Gwalior

Selected Group Exhibitions

  2010 '10 x 10', Gallery Threshold, New Delhi

  2010 'Black is Beautiful', India Fine Art, Mumbai

  2009 'The Open Cage', Galerie Sara Arakkal, Bangalore

  2009 'Think Small', Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi

  2009 'Indian Harvest', presented by Crimson- The Art Resouce, Bangalore at SG Private Banking, Singapore

  2009 'The Root of Everything', Gallery Mementos, Bangalore

  2008 'Stellar Configuration', presented by Vinnyasa Premier Art Gallery, Chennai at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  2008 'Tales, Reflection and Constructs', Galerie 88, Kolkata

  2006 ‘Tatva’, The Elements, organized by Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi and S. A. Fine Arts, London at Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  2004 Habiart Gallery, New Delhi

  2003 Gallery Art and Rugs, Gurgaon, Uttar Pradesh

  2003 ‘An Expression of Art’, Gallery Vyakt, New Delhi

  2001 ‘Contemporary Indian Painting’, Kleinsassen, Fulda, Germany

  2001 ‘Exhibition of Young Indian Contemporary Artists’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  2001 Art for Concern, Mumbai

  2001 Best of Indian Art, A Show of Indian Artists, Singapore

  2000 Contemporary Woman, Modern Indian Artist, Visual Art Center, Hong Kong.

  2000 UDHR Exhibition, United Nations in Geneva (U.N.O.G)

  2000 ‘The Eternal Embrace- a Tribute to Universal Motherhood’, Dubai

  2000 ‘Combine Voices for the Century’, Art Inc., New Delhi

  2000 ‘Graphic Expressions’, Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai

 2000 ‘Black and White’, Art Today, New Delhi

  2000 ‘The Millennium Mask’, Dhoomimal Art Centre, New Delhi

  1999 Inaugural Show, Crimson Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1998 Bayer - RPG show, Munich, Germany

  1998 ‘Spirit and Soul’, The Rotunda Exchange Square, Hong Kong

  1998 Surya Gallery 6th Anniversary Exhibition, Hyderabad

  1998 Art Folio Inaugural Show, Chandigarh

  1997 ‘Tribute to Mother Teresa’, Art Indus, New Delhi

  1997 ‘Major Trends in Indian Art’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1997 ‘Gift for India’, Sahmat, New Delhi

  1996 ‘Women in Indian Art’, The Gallery, Visual Art Centre, Hong Kong

  1996 ‘Indian Contemporary Art Show’, Nagai Garo, Tokyo, Japan

  1996 ‘Exposition’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1996 ‘Art From The Land of Heart’, Art Indus, New Delhi

  1996 Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1995 ‘Heads and Faces’, An Exhibition by Gallery Maya, Visual Art Centre, Hong Kong

  1995 ‘Moving Away from Traditions’, The Easel Art Gallery, Chennai

  1995 ‘Defiant Ones’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1994 ‘Indian Contemporary Art Show’, Gallery Maya, Hong Kong

  1994 ‘Indian Printmaking Show’, Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery Victoria, British Columbia

  1994 The Arts Trust Collection, Mumbai

  1994 Artist from Madhya Pradesh, Chennai

  1994 Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi

  1994 ‘Tattooed Spaces’, New Delhi

 1994 La’ou ‘Finit’ Labsence, Bhopal

  1994 ‘Drawing-94’, Gallery Espace, New Delhi

  1993 Nine Indian Artists Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) Gallery, New York

  1993 ‘Trends and Images’, Seema Gallery, Kolkata

  1993 Souvenir d’en France, New Delhi

  1992 ‘Young Contemporary Artists from SAARC Countries’

  1992 ‘International Show Comart’, Korea

  1992 ‘Imprints On Our Time’, Mumbai

  1990 Xal PRAXIS Foundation Print Exhibition, Mumbai

  1989 ‘Indian Eclectics’, New Delhi

  1989 ‘Artists Alert’, New Delhi

  1988 ‘Seventeen Indian Painters’, Mumbai

  1987 ‘Uplabdhi’, 28 Artists of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal

  1987 ‘Fine Arts from Madhya Pradesh’, New Delhi

  1986 Inaugural Exhibition of the National Museum of Modern Art, Seoul, Korea

  1985 ‘Some Aspects of Indian Art’, New Delhi

  1982 Inaugural Show, Bharat Bhanvan, Bhopal

  1971 Indian Artists, Belorussia and Moscow


  2010 'Art Celebrates 2010: Sports and the City', represented by Art Alive Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi to coincide with the hosting of the Commonwealth Games

  2010 'Master’s Corner', organized by Indian Contemporary Art Journal at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; India International Art Fair, New Delhi

  2005 5th Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Italy

  2005 Biennale Internazionale Dell' Arte Contemporanea

  2005 Inaugural Show, Arad International Biennale, Romania.

  2003 4th Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Italy

  2003 4th Egyptian International Print Triennial

  2003,1998 Asia Print Adventure, Japan

  2001 Cairo International Biennale 2000 Participation in Artists International Direct Support, International AIDS Portfolio Project, Canada

  2000 Participation in the UDHR International AIDS Portfolio in South Africa

  1999 ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, International Print Portfolio Exhibition, Durban, South Africa.

  1998 International Print Triennial, Kangawa, Japan

  1997 ‘Harmony Show’, Nehru Centre, Mumbai

  1996 ‘Harmony Show’, Nehru Centre, Mumbai

  1995 Bangladesh Biennale, Dhaka

  1992 Seventh Triennial, New Delhi

  1987 Ninth International Biennale de Sao Paulo, Brazil

  1986 Sixth International Triennale, New Delhi, India

  1986 Bharat Bhavan Biennial, Bhopal

  1986 Third Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  1986 Sixth Biennale de beaux Art, Beaumont, France

  1985 Thirty Contemporary Indian Artists, Havana, Cuba

  1985 Indian Printmaking, Festival of India, USA

  1985 Second Asian Art Show, Fukoka, Japan

  1985 Contemporary Indian Art show at the National Museum, Mexico City, Mexico

Honours and Awards


  2005 Lorenso-De-Medici Gold medal at 5th Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Italy.

  2005 Varnashilpi Venkatappa Award - The highest award given by the Government of Karnataka for art.

  2005 Arad City Award, Arad International Biennale, Romania.

  2003 Lorenso-De-Medici the magnificent, silver medal for his painting at the 4th Florence International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Italy

  2001 Shikhar Sanman, Department of Culture, Government of Madhya Pradesh

  2000 QINGDAO Inter National Print Biennial of China

  1999 Karnataka Rajyotsava Award

  1997,81,80 Madhya Pradesh State Award

  1997 All India’s Kalidas Award, Ujjain

  1994 Raza Award, Bhopal

  1989-92 Government of India Fellowship, HRD Ministry, New Delhi

  1989 ‘Indian Eclectics’, Exhibition, New Delhi

  1987 National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1986 Bharat Bhavan Biennale, Bhopal

 1986 Karnataka Lalit kala Academy Honor

  1986 Special Award - Third Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  1983 The National Award

  1979,81 The Karnataka Lalit kala Academy Award

  1980 International Asian European Biennial, Turkey

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