Painter and printmaker credited with introducing the graphic arts to India, Yagneshwar Kalyanji Shukla created collages and anatomical studies that reflected his focus on realism.
Born in Gujarat, Shukla was inspired by his father, who taught painting at a school in Ahmedabad. He learned painting from Ravishankar Raval before joining the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, in 1930, where he mastered working with tempera under the tutelage of Jagannatha Murlidhar Ahivasi. From 1934–39, he pursued a diploma in printmaking from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Rome. Shukla returned to Mumbai in 1939. In 1952, he introduced graphic art to JJ School, teaching evening classes on etching and engraving on metal and wood. While his first session had only two students, the classes became larger workshops. In 1962, graphic art was officially incorporated into the curriculum at JJ School.
Shukla created numerous head and anatomical studies, with a focus on objectivity and realism. His later work also explored the polarities of actuality and idealism, evident primarily in some of his collages, such as Mediation (1984) and Bride (1984). His studies of nature and his surroundings also reflect the influence of theEuropean Renaissance.
After Shukla left the JJ School of Art, he began teaching printmaking at a local college in Ahmedabad. In 1966, he became an executive member of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. His works have been shown at various exhibitions across the country as well as abroad, including in an exhibition organised by the UNESCO at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (1946); the Art Gate Gallery, Mumbai (2014); and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai (2017). His works also adorn the walls of the outer circular corridor of the Parliament House, New Delhi.
Shukla’s legacy was extended by his son, who set up the YK Shukla Foundation for Art, Architecture and Heritage in Ahmedabad, with an aim of promoting art and architecture through workshops and outreach programmes. The foundation also organised exhibitions between 2000–01.
Shukla died in 1986 at the age of 79.
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