Yusuf Arakkal was born at Chavakkad, noted for its serene beach and fishing activities, in Thrissur district of Kerala in the year 1945. 

 

It was his inherent longing for art that brought him to Bengaluru, where he earned a Diploma in painting at the famed Chitrakala Parishat, near Bengaluru High Grounds. 

 

The hardships and problems he faced in his initial days seem to have manifested in his paintings and murals. He reportedly worked in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, but later quit the job and became a full-time artist.

 

Further, he went to the Community Studio of National Academy at New Delhi and made an in-depth study of Graphic paintings. Having embraced the Renaissance spirit, he did considerable work and even participated in Art Exhibitions held abroad.

 

Prestigious Awards:

  • He was a two-time recipient of the prestigious Karnataka Lalith Kala Academy Award in 1979 and 1981.
  • He won the National award for painting in 1983.
  • In the year 1986, a special award was presented to him at the Third Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • In the year 1989, another Karnataka Lalitha Kala Academy honour was conferred upon him.
  • In the year 2005, the prestigious Lorenzo De Medici Gold Medal was presented to him in Florence, Italy.

 

Having established a small studio at a young age in Bengaluru, he very much became a Kannadiga in his own right and his attachment with Bengaluru only grew as the days passed by.  


He carved a niche for himself in the Art world and was recognised among veteran artists as his art was widely acclaimed in several countries.  


While his earlier works had a brighter, youthful and jubilant spirit, his later works had a shade of pensive, dark, moody mystery – signifying a remarkable shift in his world view.


Apart from his creative interests, he was also known for his social pursuits and wrote several books. 'In search of my roots', 'Been Town, Boom Town', 'Kerala, Kerala, Quite Contrary' are some of his literary works. 

 

He also penned books like 'Arakkal Paints A Picture,' 'Face Of The Indian Art' and other such books related to Art. 


Yusuf, who was introvert by nature, was a poet too and had scripted some English poems as well.

 

During his early days, he gave much emphasis to the abstract forms of art and, with the passage of time, he derived interest in other forms of art as well. Apart from painting, which was his favourite domain, he showed his creativity even in murals, which spoke of his versatility.

 

Yusuf remained a mentor for hordes of young artists and budding talents in the Art world. Besides being an eminent artist, Yusuf was also an ardent collector of artistic things and objects.