Painter, art historian, and writer Gulam Mohammed Sheikh taught art history and painting for
nearly three decades at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda. He is also an
eminent Gujarati poet. He initiated his career in 1963 by forming Group 1890 with 11 other
evolving artists who were rebelling against what they regarded as the stale and banal art of
the earlier periods. Probing into his own country’s cultural traditions, Sheikh draws
inspiration from Persian, Mughal, and Pahari miniatures, and Bakhti and Sufi poetry. This,
combined with his inclination towards European Renaissance art, has fashioned his approach to painting as a practice of storytelling. His paintings are inhabited with historical and fictional figures, monographs, and elaborate drawings of the cosmos—they elucidate his own reminiscences, historic and mythical scenes, and the universal understanding of the actuality of humankind. The imprints, particularly of the initial years of life, the anecdotes he heard and the folklores he grew up with, were articulated phantasmagorically in poems initially, and subsequently, on canvas. But as far as his paintings are concerned, Kabir (the poet saint) has constantly remained his muse, since his younger days. In 1987, he was a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, US, and in 2000, writer/artist-in- residence at the South Asia Regional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He has participated in major exhibitions all over the world and his works are displayed in private and public collections including the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, USA.