Surya Prakashji (as I called him fondly), aged 79, died suddenly on Wednesday at his home in Banjara Hills. He woke up in the morning and, as on other days, enjoyed his coffee. While reading the newspaper, he had a stroke and entered a deep peaceful sleep.
As his family, friends, and the art community and I mourn his death, I am reminded of what Abraham Lincoln once said, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years”. As an artist, he was at the forefront of the Hyderabad art movement and lived his life fully as an individual, always warm, compassionate and a thorough gentleman.
Surya Prakashji was known for his “abstract realism” in his paintings. He placed no emphasis on human figures. This was in sharp contrast to most artists at that time especially in South India who focused on figurative works. He was influenced by Kandinsky, abstract expressionist Pollock and Ram Kumar among others.
He gradually developed his own style which had shades of abstractness and realism. His subsequent works are a celebration of nature including works focused on lotus leaves and varied landscapes. His works are known for his vibrant colours and the brilliant use of light, shade and texture.
To me, my family and Shrishti (art gallery), he was more than an artist. He was always at every art opening of ours at Shrishti, lighting the lamp and encouraging artists.
I was extremely fond of him for his affection, his professionalism and his inquisitive mind. I will certainly miss the long conversations we used to have and his constant encouragement for all my endeavours. His smile and demeanour exuded calmness and a serenity that was contagious.
Such a man will never truly be gone, for he has left such a loving presence in our hearts.
(Lakshmi Nambiar is the founder of Srishti Art Gallery, Jubilee Hills)
— As told to Swati Sharma...