Sathiraju Sankara Narayana (Shankar) was born in 1936 in Narsapur, West Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh, India. He did his schooling at Kesari High School, Chennai and completed his Honors Degree in Economics from Loyola College, Chennai and joined the services of All India Radio in 1963. After working in various capacities for over 32 years, he retired in 1995 as Station Director of AIR in Chennai.

Sankara Narayana hails from an artistic family. His father, Late Sri Venu Gopala Rao, an Advocate at Madras High Court, was a very creative person. His elder brother, Bapu is an eminent artist and Film Director. Inspired by his elder brother, he used to draw cartoons in his earlier days and took to drawing portraits later as a hobby. While in service, he used to draw and contribute portraits to Akashavani journals.

After retiring from service, he continued making portraits of eminent personalities from different fields covering Philosophy, Politics, Music, Sports, Art, Literature and Industry and has completed around 2800 portraits using Indian ink, Charcoal and Pencil.

His first portrait of Late Sri P V Narasimha Rao was published on the front page of “Andhra Jyothi” daily during the National Congress Session held at Tirupathi in 1992.

He has won many accolades for his work and has received autographed portraits from eminent personalities like Dr. Abdul Kalam, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Sri A B Vajpayee, Dr. Karunanidhi, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Asha Bhonsle, Rajnikant, Kamal Haasan, K Balachandar, Ratan Tata, Azim Premji, Prof. M S Swaminathan, Narayanamurthy, Gopulu, S P Balasubramaniam, P B Sreenivos, K J Yesudas, Girish Karnad, Dr. Balamurali Krishna, Dr. U R Anantha Murthy, R K Laxman, Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Dr. C Narayana Reddy, Dr Ravuri Bharadwaj and Dr. Prannoy Roy, to name a few.

About 100 of his portraits were published in ‘Navya’, a Telugu weekly. Popular dailies ‘Eenadu’, ‘Vaarta’, ‘Surya’, ‘Post Noon’ from Andhra Pradesh and ‘Udayavani’ from Karnataka, English magazines namely Jade, Indian Panorama and Catalyst have carried articles on his portraits. Programs on his portraits were aired in AIR and telecast in DD (Hyd) and NDTV Hindu channels. Lately, his portraits are occasionally featured in the following magazines:

·         ‘Andhra Pradesh’          - Andhra Pradesh Government’s Monthly

·         ‘Samudra’                    -  English monthly dedicated to music & fine arts

·         ‘Sruthi’                         - English magazine dedicated to music & fine arts

·         ‘Nataka kala’                - Telugu monthly

His Portraits of 10 great Kannada literary figures including 7 Gnanpeeth Awardees were exhibited at Mysore in the year 2007.

His first exhibition of portraits was held at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore in Feb 2011, where he was honored with the “Mysore turban”.

In Oct 2011, another exhibition of his portraits was held for 3 days at Ravindra Bharathi in Hyderabad.

India Book of Records has recognized his "Sketching on eminent personalities" as a National Record achievement.            A Certificate and Plaque were issued, welcoming him to the much selected brand of National Record holders as on December 2011.

About 35 portraits of Carnatic musicians were exhibited at the Music Academy, Chennai during the Annual Music Festival in Dec 2011.

In Dec 2014, portraits of film personalities were exhibited at Hyderabad Film Club as part of Bapu Film Festival.

About 50 portraits of Classical musicians have been permanently displayed by TAG Corporation as part of their Digital Listening Archives in the Music Department at Madras University, Central University of Hyderabad, Gayana Samaja of Bangalore, Gana Bharathi of Mysore, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore at Chennai, and also in other countries like Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Portraits of stalwarts of various Indian Dance Forms were kept on permanent display at Music Academy, Chennai in TAG Digital Archives Hall.

Books giving prominence to portraits published so far :

1. Haasa Rekhalu - Telugu Book with portraits of fim comedians and artists of light and film music

2. Naada Rekhalu - Telugu Book with portraits of Classical Hindustani and Carnatic  Musicians

3. Maestros of Carnatic Music - English Book of Carnatic Musicians

4. Kalam Rekhalu - Telugu Book consisting portraits of Telugu Literary personalities

5. Geetarchana - Telugu Book consisting portraits of Philosophers and Saints of India

When asked about his inspiration, he says that he is deeply indebted to his wife, Late Smt Shanta, who inspired and encouraged him to pursue this art after retirement. His elder brother Bapu, eminent artist and director and Late Sri Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, an eminent writer, have always been a great source of motivation and moral support.

He currently lives at A-3, ‘Kothari Karuna’ Apts., 71, Anna Street, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai – 41, continuing to pursue his passion of capturing famous personalities through his portraits.

Phone: 044 - 2442 4256 / 098403 72415           Email:  shankarair@gmail.com