Giri Raj Sharma
Giri Raj Sharma and the True Calling of an Artist
Giri Raj Sharma was born on the 2nd day of April, 1953. His father, Shri Ram Krishna Sharma, ran a business of grinding spices and marketing them under the brand-names Jyoti and Navratan. Our artist however was never interested in the family enterprise and developed a healthy interest in paintings while studying itself. After graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from the Rajasthan university in 1972, his first job was as a primary school teacher which he left after one-and-a-half years. Before all this happened however, he married Shrimati Sushila Devi in November 1971. His mother tragically expired just months before his wedding (July). Significantly, Giri Raj and his younger brother were married to two sisters, in a single ceremony.
From 1974 onwards, Giri Raj started doing pichwais, the traditional cloth paintings celebrating the exploits of Lord Krishna. He was
particularly popular amongst the art dealers of Delhi who absorbed all his creative output eagerly. This continued till 1985 when the sudden
demise of his father forced him to take over the reins of the family business much against his inner calling. The inevitable happened and under the artistically inclined Giri Raj, the enterprise went from bad to worse, until he had to shut shop in 1988.
The uncertainty of the painterly life and the inevitable demands on the householder compelled him to set up a grocery shop at home. It
lasted for a princely ten months.
It was in March 1989 that Giri Raj Sharma finally chucked it all up and gave himself up to the cause of art. He founded an atelier, starting
off with five artists, creating miniature paintings on paper utilising watercolors. In 1995 however, he started working alone, not satisfied with the quality being churned out by this collective effort. He eventually switched over to the medium of oil, since the aesthetic inclination of the
miniature tradition seemed far away from his own preference for realism. This proved to be a markedly significant decision, and he has grown from strength to strength ever since and has held a twenty day solo exhibition in the prestigious Shilpa Gram at Udaipur, in 1995.
During the turbulent course of his life, Giri Raj did not neglect his karma, and somehow found sufficient resources to marry off his sister
(1987), two daughters (to two brothers) in 1995 and the third finally in 2002.