Haku Shah, famous Indian artist, passes away at 85

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Renowned Indian artist Haku Shah, best known for his themes of tribal and folk art, passed away Thursday following a cardiac arrest at his home in Ahmedabad.He was 85.

“He had been ill for sometime and was admitted in hospital for a week but we brought him back home. He had a cardiac arrest and passed at around 2.30 pm today,” Shah’s photographer son Parthiv told agency.

Born on March 26, 1934, Shah did his Masters in Fine Art under renowned artists like K G Subrahmanyam. A large part of his work was deeply influenced by tribal art and culture, as well as the Bhakti movement, especially its Nirguna poetry.

Shah was also a cultural anthropologist. He carried out extensive field research and documentation on rural and tribal arts and crafts, traditions and folk lore, and established a tribal museum at Gujarat Vidyapith.

“He was a curator there for several years which was to become his last legacy,” the family said in a statement.

Fondly known as “Haku bhai”, the award-winning artist also set up the first of its kind Crafts Village – Shilpgram in Udaipur in Rajasthan in the 1980s.

Shah, who published his memoirs, “Manush” in 2009, received several awards including the Padma Shri (1989), the Jawarharlal Nehru Fellowship and the Kala Ratna for his contribution to art.

The artist’s final rites will be performed on Friday morning in Ahmedabad.

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