Yusuf Arakkal


Malyali painter Yusuf Arakkal is currently based in Bangalore, India. During a certain stage of his painting career, Arakkal’s work was highly inspired by Pablo Picasso, especially his work "Guernica". Thereafter he adopted the abstract geometric style of painting as well as portrayed a figurative style.

Arakkal was born in the year 1945 at a place called Chavakkad in Kerala. Yusuf’s maternal side was of a royal origin and his father hailed from a renowned business family of Kozhikode. Unfortunately, Yusuf lost both his mother and father at a tender age. This agonizing experience forced a young Yusuf to leave home and move to Bangalore. At such a young age, Yusuf had made up his mind to pursue painting. In Bangalore, Yusuf had to face such destitutionsthat these experiences perfected the artist in him.

Education & Work

Yusuf pursued a diploma in painting from the esteemed Karnataka ChitrakalaParishat (KCP), Bangalore. Following this, he underwent a specialization in graphic print making. This he attained from the National Academy community studios based inGarhi, Delhi.

Till date, Yusuf Arakkal has produced an enormous assemblage of assorted works. Apart from drawings and paintings, Arakkal is also adept in creating sculptures and murals. He has also been applauded for having published numerous paper works, prints and write-ups. Several works, biographies and journals have been published depicting his life and works in numerous languages.

Most of his artworks are exceptionally expressionistic. His style reverberates anxiety as well as concern for the human society. They also have a shady and overbearing background wherein human forms are faceless; every single being in his works broods a dismal loneliness and gloomwhich is as a result of the society. The humanity again, in his paintings, isneurotically pinched with a materialistic attitude. So the sufferers are ordinary people who are left to grieve forever.

Yusuf  has contributed adequately to media, sculptures and canvases that greatly emphasise on the hot topic ‘tiger conservation’. His works have been displayed at the following solo exhibitions.

  • In the year 1992,he participated in Relays De Monts atSiux, Limousin, France.
  • In 1993, he was the participant at Gallerie Taormina Del Arte in Le Hwre, France.
  • In 1994, he exhibited his works atSrijana Contemporary Art Gallery, in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • 1994 saw him as the prime participant at Art Forum Gallery, Singapore.
  • In the year 1996, he displayed his masterworks at Wallace Gallery, Chelsea, New York.
  • In 1996, it was the turn of Air Gallery on Dower Street in London to exhibit his paintings.

Awards and Accolades

Only just, Yusuf Arakkal was bestowed with the prestigious Lorenzo De Medici Gold Medal, at Florence Internazionale Biennale. This took place in Florence, Italy and the honour was conferred to him for ‘Bacon’s Man with the Child and Priest’, one of Arakkal’s masterpieces.

Apart from this, Arakkal has also bagged the Karnataka Lalithkala Academy award twice(in 1979 and 1981). In the year 1983, he won the national award as well as aextraordinary prize at the third Asian Art Biennale Dhaka, Bangladesh in the year 1986. In 1989 he was once again honoured with the Karnataka Lalithkala Academy award.

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