Wednesday, March 10, 2010



He was fully aware of various forms of Modern Art especially Salvador Dalli's surrealism, Pablo Picasso's Cubism, expressionism , impressionism , Pop Art and Abstract Art ; Still he kept his doors closed and focussed on Kashmir landscapes alone .His medium was just water colours . The Baroda group of Artists consisting of Triloke Koul , P N Kachru , S N Bhat ,Ghulam Rasool Santosh and even Mohan Raina tried hard to bring this stalwart to the modern Art camp but failed . He remained steadfast to his medium , style and subject. Enter the world of Dina Nath Walli or Almast Kashmiri  ( 1908 -2006)  a  renowned artist from kashmir who lived at Badyar Bala in srinagar city . This area has been home to  many other  artists as well  including S N Bhat and Mohan Raina . I have faint recollections  of  his brother  Pandit Amar Chand Wali "Qais " Popularly known as BUB ( Father )  as our drawing teacher in D A V School Rainawari. He too was a poet and painter ..

              ( An oil Painting of D N Walli)

Recently Dr T K Walli brought about 60 water colours of his late father all the way from karnal to jammu for an exhibition sponsored by Academy Of art Culture and languages Every one who saw this treasure got mesmerized . You were transported to another world . It was Nostalgia and sheer reconnection with roots for most of the viewers .You could see Dal lake , Pahalgham , Gulmarg , Village scenes , Maar canal scenes , Ganderbal scenes , Bazars , Birds , Hills , Brooks , Snow clad Mountains , Poplars , Chinars men and women doing daily chores to exist and last but not the least the Beauty of this land reflected abundantly in almost all the water colour landscapes .You could see  peasants , Boatmen, Village women husking rice in KUNZ ( Big stone bowl ) , Fruit laden trees , shikaras , and houseboats .

“This art is nostalgic and soul satisfying ”

 says Ayaz Rasool Nazki ( another scientist and artist ) who went all out and helped the family in this exhibition . He revealed that his late father Gh Rasool Nazki would often mention one name as his childhood friend and that was Dina Nath walli . Dr T K Walli met  Ayaz Rasool Nazki per chance in a meeting at SKUAST  and the forgotten connections were instantly  revived .The exhibition reunited two families tied to the soil of kashmir .Incidentally Ayaz Rasool Nazki is brother of Farooq Nazki Noted poet and media personality .I saw Triloke koul, Hasarat Gadda , Vijay Bakaya ( Ex chief secretary ) , Zaffar Iqbal Manhas Secretary cultural Academy , Javed Raahi Gojri Poet and Dr Raj Kumar sharma ( Physician specialist and a Noted painter ) in this exhibition held in Sansar chand Baru Hall of Kala Kendra Jammu on 8th March 2010. Scores of art lovers of the state came to see these  water colours .


During an informal chat , Triloke koul who is known as father of Modern Art in our State informed that Walli Sahib is the only artist in the state who lived from sale of his Art . He did nothing except painting kashmir landscapes .His water colours adorn many offices , galleries and homes all over the world. Walli sahib began his career in Calcutta in 1930 but returned to kashmir in 1936 . Thereafter he remained in kashmir till 1982 when he went to Karnal to stay with his son Dr T K Walli  a scientist based in Karnal . Dr Walli  informed me that Babu ji ( as he was affectionately called by his family ) painted kashmir scenes in Karnal purely from his memory for 22 long years .He breathed his last in karnal only.


He exhibitred his work inAIFACS New Delhi . Jahangir Art Gallery Mumbai , National Defence academy Pune ,Academy of Fine Arts Kolkatta , Lalit Kala academy New Delhi , Hotrel Taj Mumbai , Dhoomi Mal Art Gallery ,Punjab Myseum Chandigarh and Tariq Rajab Museum Kuwait .

About him Dr M S Randhawa said

" Walli is a consummate water colourist and exercises Craftman's sure control , building a state of mind which is complete ."

Kuwait  Times dated 26th april 2004 wrote

" The artist presents in his water colour vignettes the lives of the people set against the panorama of snow capped mountains , bubbling brooks , meandering rivers and rural pathways . "

This artist also wrote two books of poems  in kashmiri .BAAL YAPAARIE " ( on this side of the mountain ) and Sehraavik Posh ( Flowers of the desert ). He wrote kashmiri poetry under his pen name Almast Kashmiri .The book BAAL YAPAARIE had a forward written by Upendra Nath Ashq famous writer from Punjab .Dina Nath walli was a multi dimensional personality who could easily play on various musical instruments like flute , Sitar , sarangi and Violin .

In any painting or art exhibition that I have seen during last two decades I found mostly pain , anger and helplessness reflected on the canvass . In this exhibition I came out happy and cheerful . I must admit frankly. I also found every viewer stopping near the Painting "HOUSE BOAT IN MOON LIGHT" . This landscape has a magical attraction . The use of colours to create ambience is superb . The painting has a haunting beauty and reflects sensitivity of this great artist . I would also say that these water colour landscapes are also for the artisans , peasants , farmers and ordinary Kashmiris. After viewing them most of them would say


“O that is my house . That is my field . That is my village . ”. That makes this Art great

.I request kashmiris wherever they are to see the Art of this great son of the soil. I also request Secretary Cultural Academy J&K  to help the family of the Artist to preserve this heritage for our future generations  .  Enjoy photographs taken by me on 08.03.2010 . You can also see Veteran artist  Triloke koul   with Ayaz Rasool Nazki ( In Strapped Blue tie ) . I end this post with two lines of poet Bekal Utsaahi



( Text and Photographs by Autar Mota )

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