Evald Okas (b. 1915) has been part of Estonian art history for more than 60 years. He studied in the State Industrial Art School and State Higher Art School; the years of war took him to Yaroslavl, to a group of Estonian artists, in 1942. Having returned to his homeland, Evald Okas went on to prove himself in the following decades as a uniquely temperamental and diverse artist in the Estonian context by expanding the emotional styles as well as the subject matter dominant in Estonian national treatment of art at that time. It could be said that Evald Okas was after Eduard Viiralt one of the few Estonian artists, whose creative statements organically grew out of contemporary city culture, its multi-faceted aspects, exotic travel experience, peculiarities of people and strange cultures, as well as domestic painting tradition and direct perception of nature. With Evald Okas, the critics have always stressed the extraordinary vitality of his oeuvre, and his artistic personality, which is quite singular among Estonian artists and more typical of the Renaissance times: always experimenting, embracing different fields of art in his works, and at the same time, being an outstanding art teacher. Since the year 1944, he worked as a teacher in the Estonian Academy of Art, since 1954 as a professor, and since 1993 as a professor emeritus of the same institution.
Evald Okas proved already in the post-war occupation years that he was an innovative and liberal master in the genre of historical and war paintings. Decades later, his skill was expressed in sensually open theatrical compositions, in which he depicted artistic scenes from the fields of theatre and music, architecture, industry and city life. Okas brought into the Estonian painting tradition and graphic art a mature sensual-erotic treatment of the contemporary woman; throughout his creative period, he has depicted exotic women artists from faraway lands, as well as openly erotic female nudes. In the latter specialty, Evald Okas could be primarily compared to another Estonian classical painter Ado Vabbe. Okas has also enriched the traditional colouring of Estonian painting by creating daring, suggestive colour solutions.
Okas's trips to abroad in the 1960s brought fresh sensibilities to the domestic graphic art. By today, his dry point series Travel Impressions from Italy (1961), series Paris (1962), and etchings inspired by his trip to Japan in 1963, which were drastically different from the general
tendencies in the graphic art, have become unattainable rarities.
Evald Okas's works are included in the collections of all Estonian art museums as well as several important art museums of the world. He is an honorary member of the Florence Art Academy.