Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

Circle of life in the \’Bindu\’: Celebrating SH Raza\’s 100th birthday

February 22, On This Day

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A century has passed since the birth of Sayed Haider Raza, or SH Raza, as he is more popularly known, on February 22, 1922.

Known as one of India’s foremost modernists, he is said to have \”developed a language of art rooted in Indian tradition but also influenced by his worldview\”, rooted in two big metropolitan cities — \”Mumbai, where he emerged; and Paris, where he evolved\”, write critics.

Raza was widely revered artist. He was the recipient of the Indian Padma Shri and Fellowship of the Lalit Kala Academi as well as the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Further, he was also conferred with France\’s Commandeur de la Legion d\’honneur (Legion of Honour).

Raza evolved from painting expressionistic landscapes to abstract ones.

By the 1970s, he had grown restless with his work, and the resultant wide travels led to the epiphany of the \’Bindu\’ (a point or the source of energy), signifying his rebirth as a painter. The bindu is now widely regarded as a trademark for Raza and he said in 2010L \”It\’s the centre of my life.\”

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To celebrate his birth centenary, from February 23, 2022, the Piramal Museum of Art in Mumbai will display over 40 artworks of Raza, including 10 never-exhibited paintings, openings its doors for the first time since the pandemic began. This public gallery houses the largest private collection of Raza.

In celebration of Raza’s centenary year in 2021, Abir Pothi was also delighted to bring you excerpts from the book Raza: Jaisa Maine Dekha (Rajkamal Prakashan) by noted artist Akhilesh, where he sketched with words his long association with Raza from the author’s early days to Raza’s last. Once more, we thank Akhilesh for allowing us to translate and use excerpts for Abir readers. You can read the series of pieces titled Raza@100 here.

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