Kirpal Singh, Artist
Sikh Artist (1923-1990)
The creator of Sikh history in colour, was born the son of Bhagat Singh and Har Kaur in a small village Vara Chain Singhvala in Firozpur district of the Punjab on 10 December 1923. He inherited interest in art from his father who was adept in woodwork engraving, and his practical training started with drawing rough sketches in his school notebooks. He was obliged to discontinue his school studies owing to lack of means. He was forced to take up a smalltime appointment in the military accounts department where he served from 1942 to 1947.
After the partition of India (1947), Kirpal Singh moved to Jalandhar. He gave up his service and decided to adopt painting as a career. In 1952 he shifted to Delhi for some time and then settled in a small town, Indri, near Karnal. The first exhibition of his paintings was held in Dyal Singh College, Karnal, on 26 June 1955. In the following year the Shiromani Gurdwara°Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, employed him as an artist to produce exhibits for the Central Sikh Museum in the Darbar Sahib complex.
He resigned this job in 1962 and went again to Delhi from where, after a few years, the late Dr Mohinder Singh Randhawa, himself a great lover and connoisseur of art, persuaded him to come to Chandigarh where he settled down permanently. This turned out to be the most creative period of his career.
Kirpal Singh died in an accident on 26 April 1990.
Kirpal Singh painted hundreds of pictures, portaits and landscapes, but his particular interest and specialization was in capturing on the canvas episodes from Sikh history including awe-inspiring scenes of ultimate sacrifice by Sikh martyrs and realistic portrayal of battle scenes. Some of his original works now adorning various museums, institutions, gurdwaras and private homes in India and abroad are displayed in Central Sikh Museum (36), Sardar Baghel Singh Museum in Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, New Delhi (21), Anglo-Sikh War Memorial,Ferozeshah near Firozpur (11), Sikh Regimental Centre, Rampur, Ranchi (12), Takht Sri Patna Sahib (8), Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur (8), Punjabi University, Patiala (18), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, (18), Chandigarh Art Gallery (1) and Gurdwara Mahidiana Sahib, Jagraon, district Ludhiana (20).