Artist Jaleel, renowned street painter from Mattancheri died in the early morning of May 16, 2018. He was 53. Jaleel who was from Kochangady, Mattancheri in Kochi started drawing at the age of eight. The walls of the Bastian Bungalow was Jaleel’s canvas for several years until his works were wiped off last year during a renovation of the Bungalow. The funeral was held at Mattancherry.
Jaleel’s work was inspired by the places he had visited and the people he met in his life. Jaleel travelled across Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra for years before coming back to Fort Kochi to start painting on the walls of Bastion Bungalow. His canvas has portrayed issues and incidents such as Tsunami that hit Kerala coast, 9/11 attack and Fort Kochi boat tragedy.
With just a handful of colour chalks and a bit of paint, Jaleel’s artwork has been engaging passersby for quite a long time now. ‘It’s been 15 years since I started drawing on the walls; people stopping by and taking a look at my drawings is what I consider as my reward,” Jaleel had said to NEWS18.
Jaleel was of the opinion that the main difficulty painters in South India face was the unwillingness of people to buy paintings by street artists and that in places like Goa, Calcutta and Delhi, street painters were given equal importance.
‘Jaleel lived in isolation till his death, associating with just a few. He spent his days painting in his open studio near the beach,’ wrote Hariharan Subrahmanyan, photographer and friend of Jaleel on social media.