Sobha Singh, a world renowned artist, came to Andretta, then a small hamlet in Kangra district, on the eve of Partition in 1947. This tiny hamlet emerged on the international art map due to his paintings. He had created some of most famous paintings in his studio at Andretta, now popularly known as Kalagram (art village).
Initially, Sobha Singh got a small thatched grass-covered hut as a dwelling unit but gradually developed it into a full-fledged art gallery. He himself designed his house he kept improving and changing it right from 1949 to 1986.
When Sobha Singh settled at Andretta, many bureaucrats came in contact with him due to his paintings. They were regular visitors to his place as is evident from meticulously maintained correspondence by the artiste kept in art gallery now.
In one of the letters, RN Luthra, Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, wrote to him on February 18, 1952, "Your production of Sohni Mahiwal on the canvas will remain as immortal as Fazal Shah's version of that memorable story." Another Kangra Deputy Commissioner KL Kapur thanked him in his letter dated July 17, 1953, for the "kind welcome accorded by him and the citizens of Andretta to the Chief Minister during his visit. The Chief Minister has greatly appreciated the painting you presented to him".
When the construction of his house was in progress, Dr MS Randhawa, first Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh, along with Dr Mulk Raj Anand, a prominent writer, and Dr WG Archer, US Ambassador to India, visited him at the end of 1952 to 'enjoy the natural beauty of the Kangra valley and search for material on Kangra paintings.
Hirday Paul Singh, secretary general of the Sobha Singh Memorial Art Society, told The Tribune that an exhibition titled "Wild Wonders of Kenya — A wildlife spectacle" by photo artist Dr Madhumeet Singh would be held from November 13 to 29 at Artist Residency, Andretta, in Kangra district. His maiden biography 'Sobha Singh Artist: Life amp; Legacy' by Dr Hirday Paul Singh would also be released this month. A discussion on the book would be held on November 29 where educationist Dr RG Sud would present his paper.
He said that they would collaborate with an NGO to organise a painting competition and a declamation contest for school students at Baijnath. The 'Sahil-e-Beas' organisation would organise another painting competition for students at the birthplace of Sobha Singh at Shri Hargobindpur, near Gurdaspur, Punjab. The Sardar Sobha Singh Memorial Chittarkar Society will also organise a painting competition for around 400 school and college students and its annual All India Painting Competition from November 29 to December 3 at Bathinda (Punjab). Besides, the Sobha Singh Foundation would hold a lecture on the legendry artist at Ludhiana to commemorate his birth anniversary.