He(art) of the matter
It's after a gap of six years that Mumbai is getting to witness SH Raza's solo exhibition. The exhibition includes not only his recent works, but also has a dedicated retrospective section, thus giving the viewer a rare glimpse into early works by the artist alongside his most recent works.
In the course of a career spanning nearly seven decades, Raza has dedicated himself to a quest for vital forms that convey his earliest memories of landscape and cosmic expanse, language and silence.
When CS asked him about his works taking on a more subtle form in the past few years, he said, “Well, I do not know. I am only exploring some ideas, some painterly elements and perhaps with such a long career of painting, you do attain a degree of subtlety.” Raza speaks about his paintings, coming back to India and about the current state of art in the country:
Good to be back!
India is in my blood and bones, in my soul and mind. France has given me sens plastique, made me see what painting could be and mean. Without France I would not have been the Indian painter I am. I was planning to return to India and there were many mundane matters to attend to since I was leaving France for good after having lived there for six decades! It is good to be back in India, and I can say that though I lived away for many years, India always stayed in my heart and art. When approached for this exhibition, I was indeed happy to share with people my current body of works.
Life is inspiration
I hope the people who see the works react with an open mind. I don’t impose my views on others. They are free to respond with their sensitivity, their imagination. Life inspires me to paint: It is only through painting that I know the meaning and significance of life, of being a human being.
There are genuine young artists as also the ones who are tempted by current world trends. Happily there are many who are evolving their own personal visions and styles and they cannot be lumped into a single trend or movement. I am happy to see a vital and vibrant plurality in Indian art today. Over the years I have admired Gaintonde, Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar, Krishen Khanna, MF Husain and Souza. Also, KG Subramanyam, Manjit Bawa, Arpita Singh, Jogen Chowdhury. There are so many that I admire.
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