Monday, February 29, 2016

Sumer Singh Matharu - A collection of Sumer's Art

Front Cover
Back Cover
It is a matter of great honor to me to be asked to write a little about this collection of Sumer Singh Matharu's art.

As a child I often saw 'Sumer Uncle' climb up the stairs of the house we lived in with a pack of books in a jhola. He would drop in to meet my father, Dr. Surindar Singh Suri. They were great pals, being like-minded people. They were both deep into intellectual pursuits. My father read and wrote extensively on Political Science. Sumer Uncle was a dedicated artist.

They would spend hours talking together, completely unmindful of time. They forgot all about eating or drinking and had to be prodded to pick up their cups of tea. I attribute my love for books to people like my father and Sumer Uncle who always treated pursuit of knowledge with utmost reverence.

Sumer Uncle carried volumes of his books and I leafed through them. The interpretations were beyond me. I was too young to understand what the drawings denoted. But even then, I was amazed by the intricate pen work that covered pages upon pages of the book.

Even now, I am amazed at the detailed, precise and complicated line drawings that form the wealth of this collection. The topics are highly philosophical in their content. The drawings are titled Value and Meaning, Beauty, Man of Future, Hunger for light, Adornment, etc.

Sumer Singhji wrote 8 books, replete with pen drawings and his interpretations of them which are portrayed in this volume. There is a chapter that is dedicated to the awards and honors bestowed upon him. Some of his designs, portraits and sketches are also reproduced here. His amazingly beautiful calligraphy also gets showcased here. There is a chapter dedicated to his Gurbani posters as well, as he gave deep thought to Guru Granth Sahib.

Such a strong drawing! Man of Future

There is a chapter dedicated to the men who inspired him, Abdul Rehman Chugtai, Mirza Ghalib and Mohammed Iqbal. There is an invaluable character study of Sumer Singhji by Fakir Chand Tuli.

All in all the book is a beautiful tribute to a rare man. In these times when art is nothing but a means to commerce, people like Sumer Singh are a beacon for Art for Art's sake. These are the people who had nothing but passion for Art. They were untouched by any mercenary reasons. We need to remember and celebrate such men.


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