Early Life of J. Sultan Ali
J. Sultan Ali was born to Ismaili Khoja parents in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in the year 1920. At the age of fifteen, he moved to Chennai. In 1945, he qualified from the Government College of Art. Afterwards, he also completed a course in Textile Design at the Madras Government Textile Institute. This was followed by a diploma degree in photography from London. Subsequently, he worked as a teacher in the Fine Art Department at the Government College of Art in Chennai for about a year. Following this, he taught for six years at the Rishi Valley School in Madanapalli. His ventures also included his travel to Bastar, Chhattisgarh, for learning shades of tribal culture. This experience greatly enriched his painting technique and helped him to develop a unique style of his own.
Painting Style of J. Sultan Ali
J. Sultan Ali brilliantly unleashed the shackles of established painting styles and launched a new one which magnificently blended the reality and fiction. The guidelines of traditional art failed to appeal him and he carved out his own style with taking folk painting as his inspiration. Indian mythology also found expression through his paintings. Presence of symbols associated with folk culture was an enchanting feature of his art. The figures in his creation were soaked in vibrant hues whereas the backdrop were coloured in sombre shades. The prominent features of his art included exaggerated bodies, puppet-like faces and elongated eyes, all of which paid their tribute to the tradition of folk painting in India. The folk symbols however had a personal touch of the artist which essentially transformed the painting into an awe-inspiring experience.
Famous Paintings of J. Sultan Ali
One of the most famed artwork of J. Sultan Ali was the painting series he made just after the devastating famine of Andhra Pradesh. His depictions of horror and sufferings of the calamity were heart-touching. 'Festival Bull' was another remarkable creation of J. Sultan Ali in 1965. 'Fisher Woman' and 'Ramnik' were his renowned oil paintings. 'Village', 'Jeeva-Prabhat' and 'Creativity is the Food of the Soul' are other masterpieces of the artist made with ink, pencil and pen on paper. His other artworks enlist Vrishabha, Vraga-Mraja, Pathar Jeeve and Jeevan.