‘He Was A Great Artist of Kashmir’: Akhter Rasool Passes Away

During his two-decade-long creative career, Akhter Rasool mostly created what he called “exciting and effective visual communication and design solutions”.

Srinagar- In the wee hours of Sunday morning, Kashmir’s ace graphic designer Akhter Rasool passed away, leaving his family and friends in an utter shock and grief.

Breaking the news of his demise, Kashmir’s veteran journalist Yusuf Jameel said, “What a tragedy? Shocked to learn renowned graphic artist Akhter Rasool has passed away after suffering massive cardiac arrest at his Srinagar home early today. Rest in eternal peace dear Akhter.”

Son of Ghulam Rasool Dar of Baba Pora Habba Kadal Srinagar, Akhter was Kashmir’s most-hailed designer — the pioneer of many art projects in Srinagar since the early 2000s.

He did his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts (BFA) from the University of Kashmir and went to display his diverse art form throughout his eventful career. He was appreciated for his creative and colourful work in the year 2004.

“My understanding of colors and designs comes from the beautiful snow-capped mountains and lakes I grew around with,” Akhter said in his social media profile.

Akhter’s first job was to design a logo for the multimedia department where he was hired.

“With time, Akhter Rasool adopted technology as a tool to rebrand his art,” said Asif Bhat, his student. “He would always say that an artist has to come out of the freeze frame and adopt the emerging and evolving technologies to contemporize his/her art.”

During his two-decade-long creative career, Akhter Rasool mostly created what he called “exciting and effective visual communication and design solutions”. It was because of this art acumen that he has to his name over 1000 designs. He also designed magazine layouts for national as well as international magazines.

“There is only one rule to become more innovative, i.e., to learn from each other and exchange experiences,” he said in his Linkedin profile. “It will make me a more rounded person and empower me with the skills required to interact with all sorts of people in the outside world.”

Apart from helping some Srinagar-based newsrooms set up design units, the late graphic designer was working in EMMRC Kashmir University and was also associated with many creative design agencies.

His untimely death has left his varsity colleagues in an utter shock.

“Akhter Rasool was an extremely talented graphic artist,” Mir Faheem, Akhter’s campus colleague said in his tribute. “A gifted one. But more than that he was an extraordinarily humble person, an epitome of humility.”

On the professional front, Mir said, Akhter was, on many important occasions, the most wanted person in the University and beyond who would be looked for every five minutes.

“That’s the kind of talent he possessed,” Mir said. “But all this never made him lose sight of things. He remained grounded all the time. He would always wear a smile on his face to greet his friends and acquaintances. Even in the most pressing situations, he would never lose his cool. He would continue to maintain his focus on work no matter what.”

During the recent 19th Annual Convocation of the University of Kashmir, Akthar designed a theme that showed an autumn leaf (a symbolism of a budding student) flying up rather than falling down, Mir recounted.

“When somebody opined that it didn’t appear to be a good theme, he said: ‘We only see Autumn as a sign of fall, but it’s the Chinar leaf that rises again’. That was his imagination. His understanding of things. Today, I realise, that Leaf Akthar hasn’t fallen.. it will only rise in the beautiful gardens of Heavens. We shall meet again, my friend, some day. Rest in eternal peace!”

Besides being the reputed artist, Akhter Rasool was known for his soulful voice. He would be invited to various congregations for reciting lamentations. His elegy, “Sakina Jaag Jaye Gi” is one of his most viewed dirges on social media.

The lament resurfaced on the day of his demise.

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