Artist Vivan Sundaram died on Wednesday at the age of 79, activist Shabnam Hashmi said.

Sundaram was admitted to a Delhi hospital earlier this month following a brain hemorrhage. He is survived by his wife, art historian and curator Geeta Kapur.

Sundaram’s body of work comprised different mediums painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation and video art referring to perception, memory and history. His work often depicted the intersection of social problems and popular culture.

In 1991, Sundaram created the Engine Oil series referencing the United States-led assault in Iraq to gain control of its oil resources. In 1993, he made a mixed-media installation Memorial as a tribute to the victims of the Mumbai riots.

He explored the social implications of urban waste and second-hand goods through his series The Trash. The artwork comprised a huge and fantastical cityscape created with garbage.

His works have been displayed in China, South Africa and South Korea, as well as in institutions such as Tate Modern, Herning Kunstmuseum, the Queens Museum of Art, the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art.

“Extremely sad to share that Vivan Sundaram has passed on,” Hashmi said on Facebook. “He was one of the finest artist, activist I have known for over 35 years. His demise is a big loss to the art world and also to the creative cultural resistance.”

Sundaram was born in Shimla in 1943. His father, Kalyan Sundaram, was chairperson of Law Commission of India from 1968 to 1971, and his mother, Indira Sher-Gil, was the sister of noted artist Amrita Sher-Gil.

Sundaram studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, after which he joined the Slade School of Art in England as a commonwealth scholar in 1966, where he was mentored by American artist RB Kitaj.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury expressed grief at Sundaram’s death.

“Deeply grieved at the passing away of Vivan Sundaram, one of India’s foremost creative artistic personalities,” Yechury said. “A dear friend whose life and work never lost focus in championing people’s causes. His endearing gentle presence will be missed.”

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Activist Teesta Setalvad also expressed her condolences to Sundaram’s family. “Adious friend inspiration guide and so much more,” she tweeted. “SAHMAT [Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust] has lost a guiding star and me a dear dear friend.”

Sundaram was a founding trustee of SAHMAT.

Historian S lrfan Habib said: “An old friend and one of the most productive and creative artists, someone who could make a strong statement through his work of art. He spent decades in taking his art across the world.”