Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | July 24, 2010

Divine Feminine of G.R. Santosh

This is not clear  whether G.R Santosh was proficient in  Kashmiri Tantrism or not  but his works undoubtedly encapsulates it. Often he would say that he had had some vision of divine at Amarnath cave. He spoke about a divine spirit  that he encountered at Amaranth and was touched by it.  One can not deny such religious apparitions by a believer of  some metaphysical tradition.  Leaving this aside, if we talk about Santosh works, we realize that he has three dimensions in his works – first his geometry does not construct any abstract form of mandala that is  outcome is always a figurative form.  His figurative would be altogether a different kind of figurative-a kind of mandala. Body is a mandala . Secondly his painting transcends the restrictions of tantrism and moves towards individualized spiritual fantasy and thirdly his art incorporates surrealistic elements.

Santosh was  an artist of feminine forms perhaps this engagement comes from his faith in Shakti-The Mother. We can say that he was a quasi-abstract figurative painter of a Shakta sensibility. He perceived the feminine figures in its varied forms and manifestations. The way he develops his cosmic images of feminine from the primary geometric forms is amazing and rare of its kind. He has been able to resurrect a geometric form in to the divine body of Shakti. I have never seen  such images, perhaps, no one has painted feminine the way he has painted. He really employed Tantrik technique of expansion; he expands step by step unto the divine in his paintings.  Santosh was an artist and poet of a different kind of sensibility, he was deeply influenced by Kashmiri Shakta philosophy and beliefs. I think he had had some deep understanding of Kashmiri Shaiva philosophy and its devotionalism. Critics and authors have neglected him and his works in the name of tradition but they never asked what tradition  actually is?. If you are following Picasso you are following tradition, isn’t this a fact? I think one should judge an artist on his work that what is new in his oeuvre .

–Rajesh Shukla



  1. Santosh was really a great artist, humble and loving. His love for art revealed his spiritual insights, which irritated his friends/critics! I had several chances to have deep conversations with him. Whenever I visited Delhi, he offered me working space in his studio in Garhi. If Biren De assumed that he is the father of Neo-Tantra, Santosh used to say laughingly that he is the mother of Neo-Tantra and so on.

    • Thanks Mantani j. I admire his works , his contribution to Indian art is great.

  2. Great art has always returned from long hibernation. Pendulum of taste in art today, is at one exterme end where there id no room for anything other than the glitter of self-indulgence where money matters more than the artistic merit. Good news is that pendulum swings both ways. And when it does Santosh will get his just due, perhaps even more. Mahesh Chandra

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