A tribute to Suneet Chopra

Apr 04, 2024   |   W-23, Greater Kailash Part-II, New Delhi, IN

 A Tribute to Suneet Chopra


 My friendship with Suneet Chopra dates back at least thirty years, to the early 1990s.

 It developed into a warm, lively dialogue on all topics of conversation which we shared.

 He was a reliable friend to be trusted, extremely sociable, well-travelled, who received warm support from his co-workers, art world friends, and family.

 His engagement with Marxist ideas began during his student days at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Later he joined the Centre for Studies in Regional Development at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He became the founding Treasurer of the Democratic Youth Federation when it was founded in 1980. He was elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (M) in 1995.

 Suneet Chopra will be remembered for his writings as an art critic and activist, which reflect his support for socially relevant art, and against the commodification of art. He facilitated the way for younger artists and those coming from outside big centres of art trade like Delhi. He introduced these artists to gallerists, and curated shows to ensure the visibility of their art works.

                                                                                                                    Dr. Geeti Sen

                                                                           Art Critic


Remembering Suneet:

A Connoisseur of Art, Friendship,

and Life

The image of Suneet that has been vividly etched in my mind is that he was always full of life, intellectually and socially—his essence, being, truly larger-than-life. Always emotionally supportive to friends, and on the side of justice, his voice was persuasive and hearty, with a deep sense of being humane. He was seen visiting perhaps all the art galleries in Delhi NCR and actively participating in art and social events. Politically, he was a committed person, always on the left, but also rising above any petty politics. I met Suneet about forty years ago. A very likeable person, I found him so from the very first meeting. It did not matter to him which class or group someone was from; he would always talk to anyone introduced to him in a friendly manner. If the person happened to be an

art lover, he would also suggest supporting young talent in whichever way one could. He himself used to write on young painters, sculptors, printmakers, whenever he was exposed to their works. He would also collect works, not only by appreciating them but he never flinched

from purchasing them at the quoted price. Seeing him in a show, in an art event, or just meeting him while crossing a road, on a street, would instantly cheer me up. We would smile at each other and start talking about any subject that was on his mind at that moment. His talks were always stimulating, and his knowledge of art and writing was sound. There was no dearth of suitable words

wherever he wanted to express something, even in a complex work. His writing is easy to grasp and beautiful in its expression, giving delight whenever we read it. His love for poetry knew no bounds; whenever he saw a poet at a party, he would request them “dqN lquk;s”, to recite something. He wanted to be at any event where art was being celebrated, and this would cause him some hurry, as being in a metro city, it was not always possible to easily reach from one place to another. After truly settling in a place of his choice, he would be in a good mood, sharing his views on someone’s work, being comfortable with his friends and acquaintances, and at times, remembering artists who

have been ‘forgotten’ or overlooked. I can never forget our last meeting, a reception thrown after a show. Our wine glasses were handed to us, and Suneet, with laughter and cheer, turned to me. He shook my glass in the manner of one friend shaking another’s hand, creating a resonating sound that added to our shared joy. The memory of this particular gesture lingered on as many

friends shared pictures of it on Facebook. His fond memories inspire us to embrace the full spectrum of life with warmth, empathy, and a camaraderie so dear, so genuine that will always resonate like an unforgettable melody to those who tuned in to it even once. Suneet, we can never forget you. You were generous to the core. Your devotion to art and artists will always inspire us and many others who came to know you, even for a short while. That devotion was expressed

not only in words but also in your very persona.

Prayag Shukla  

Poet, Art Critic


(My time with Suneet Chopra and Harvest)

I was in my late 20s and had started my art gallery Arushi Arts in 1996 when I met Suneet Chopra. He was knowledgeable

astute and articulate. He was an art critic who was selfless and never had a monetary agenda and his passion and love

for art was indomitable. He then suggested to start harvest In 2001 a group show of indian art. He vetted each work

in our catalogs. And taught me the nuances of making a catalog where I measured the size found out mediums and

about the artists and styles in those days : Suneet always wrote this catalog and edited and critiqued this catalog.

Suneet’s writing was always simple & clear which anyone could understand. It was always so interesting and fun.

His passion when he talked about art his writings his poetry was just fabulous. I learnt so much from him and I’m

forever grateful to him. Over the years Harvest continued and became one of the most awaited shows in Delhi and

we got a lot of appreciation. With all artists with my children he was patient and guided them with utmost honesty

and knowledge. He loved having a good conversation on art and life whenever possible. His knowledge on Indian

artists like the Progressive Group was deep and he was invited by well known artists like M.F. Husain S.H. Raza Akbar

Padamsee Jehangir Sabawala and several others to visit them and have a talk about his thoughts on their work. So

also with all other artists he was full of conversations & pointers to them. He ate drank and thought art. He said art

makes our life worth living and Indian art would go leaps and bounds which it is doing today.

His integrity and honesty were amazing qualities. My dear Suneet we miss you so much and will always cherish our

time together in this lifetime. Thank you for being an elder brother to me and guiding me.

Payal Kapoor

Director, Arushi Arts