The gentle brushstrokes of Ravinder Singal


Expressing himself through enigmatic abstracts

Kirti Ranshoor

He has been probably the only Indian Police officer to hold the post of the Chief of War Crimes Investigating Unit in the United Nations. And those who saw his tough demeanour while marshalling his men at Trimbakeshwar during the 2003 Kumbh Mela as SP Nashik (Rural) would have to be forgiven for not being able to imagine him with a paint brush in his hand in front of a canvas mounted on an easel. But this Man in Khaki with a gun, who fears no colours while on duty, turns an artist with a brush who loves colours, in his bedroom!
Meet Nashik’s Commissioner of Police Dr Ravinder Kumar Singal…. the artist!
The Colours of Kumbh
Strangely, or perhaps even appropriately, his work reflects in his art and his art helps him in his work. The CP has a doctorate in the field of Management of Mega Events. No wonder he had managed the Kumbh Mela so successfully and ensured that peace was maintained. But his paintings reveal that while the policeman in him was enforcing law and order impeccably, the myriad colours of the Kumbh Mela were leaving a deep imprint on the artist in him. So, many of his paintings depict ascetics, pilgrims, flags and temples in shades of dark green, orange, brown and blue. The moon in a few of his paintings probably symbolizes peace, which he always tries to maintain as a cop!
After looking at his beautiful abstract artwork, a connoisseur not only gets aesthetically pleased but also gets an opportunity to get a glimpse of the artistic talent and the nature of the man.
Great stress buster
Dr Singal says, “The art of drawing and painting is an act of meditation for me. Policing is stressful work and even as I get to express my feelings and emotional experiences through my artistic work, I feel that it is the best stress buster too.”
He had demonstrated his innate ability to draw and paint right through his childhood and adolescence by winning first prizes in many drawing competitions. But it was only after he became a police officer that he realized gradually that his art not only gave his expressionism the power of creativity, but it also provided him immense relief from his stressful work.
Encouraging art through
his work
Being an artist himself, he never loses an opportunity to encourage other artists. When he was posted in Visakhapatnam, he had organised a painting workshop on the beaches of Visakhapatnam. He was as usual too busy and therefore not able to call his own time his own. But the shining sand and water motivated him to paint. He says, “I also painted with other artists during this workshop on the beach and the experience was amazing.”
Similarly, he encouraged artists and art wholeheartedly when he was the Director South Central Zone Cultural Center at Nagpur.
His close association with art continues here in Nashik too. “I really enjoyed painting in a workshop by Artist Shital Sonavane,” he reveals.
Reflections of Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso
In one of his paintings titled ‘Meditation is the best medicine’, he has drawn a sage meditating and painted it with broad bands of grey and black colours. The painting represents a very simplified shape of a sage, but expresses a great point of view. His brushstrokes and technique in this artwork are vividly reminiscent of the style of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch who was popular for his intensely evocative treatment of psychological themes. Dr Singal has also drawn and painted a few mystical visages which remind one of the style of Spanish Artist Pablo Picasso. But he himself has a different take. “I am stylistically inspired by Indian artists M. F. Husain and S. H. Raza,” says Dr Singal.
His own style of painting
Actually, Dr Singal has developed his own style of painting by combining different styles. His style is intellectually mature and appealing. He does not make his abstracts too complicated and perplexing to comprehend. He simplifies the forms and lets the colours speak. Connoisseurs do not find it very difficult to grasp his paintings. Even a lay person will be able to appreciate his artwork. But it is necessary to have a high level of intelligence to decode his viewpoint and emotion which he expresses in his paintings.
His abstract landscape paintings are characterized by consistent darker red orange tone with the objects and elements in it highlighted with other colours. He has drawn and painted flowers too, which show his close affinity to nature.
This article is too small a platform to showcase all his paintings. But in future, one will definitely get an opportunity to see and appreciate his artwork of abstract expressionism. And Yes! He will have a lot of feelings to vent through his art.
Dr Singal said, “I am certainly planning to hold an exhibition of my paintings, but not so soon.”