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Delhi Remembers Raza’s Arts’ Burning Blaze

Today we will talk about one of India’s famous artists Sayed Haider Raza , whose paintings depicted his move from expressionist landscapes to geometric abstractions. He is famous for his Bindu paintings that invaded every one of his canvasses thereafter.

Sayed Haider / "S. H." Raza, was born in Babaria, Narsinghpur district, Madhya Pradesh on 22 February 1922 and in 1950 he started living in France while maintaining strong ties with India. In 1959, he married his pupil, Janine Mongillat and they lived together till 2002 when Janine died of cancer, leaving a heartbroken Raza behind. He left France and returned to India in 2010 where he spent the last few years of his life, painting actively till the end.

S.H.Raza founded the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG ) along with fellow artists K.H.Ara and

F.N. Souza in 1947 and the movement lasted till 1956. PAG’s focus was on moving away from European realism in Indian art and bring “Antar Gyan” or inner vision /more Indianness into the work

S.H.Raza was awarded the Padma Shri and Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1981, Padma Bhushan in 2007, and Padma Vibhushan in 2013. He was conferred with the highest French civilian honour, the Commandeur de la Legion d'honneur (Legion of Honour) on July 14, 2015.

He became one of India's most expensive modern artists when a seminal work, Saurashtra was sold for ₹16.42 crore ($3,486,965) at a Christie's auction.

S. H. Raza worked mainly in oils or acrylics with a rich use of color. He was deeply influenced by Indian philosophy and as he headed in that direction, he discovered unique geometric abstractions in his art called the “bindu”.

The “bindu” was a perfect circle encapsulating Buddhist iconography, Hinduism ideas of kundalini and tantra and more importantly, his own “inner experience”. His work has had a deep influence on the artworld and one notable contemporary artist, Bharti Kher, has taken it to another level through her colourful bindi work.

On 2’nd June 2018, Shantala Palat is conducting an art workshop to remember this great artist at Arpana Fine Arts Gallery, 4/6 Siri Fort Institutional Area, Opp. Gate No. 2, Siri Fort Auditorium, from 10 am- 1pm, in New Delhi. Through this workshop, Delhi’s art enthusiasts (all age groups – adults too) will learn a few things about the artist and make a painting in the Raza style. It could be a tree/cup/ anything!

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