Inspiring, supporting, mentoring a whole generation of artists, Raza has defined the true nature of an artist, who exists only to create, enkindle and invigorate, writes Niladri Paul
Obituaries sound like an anomaly when one is talking about an artist, because art never dies. Artists live eternally through their creativity. Especially stalwarts like SH Raza who was a torch bearer with the other artists of the PAG (Progressive Artists Group) founded in 1947, giving new dynamics to Indian art with freshly infused modernist creativity rooted in our own culture. The resurgence led to a whole new paradigm of what we see now as Indian Contemporary art.
From being born in a small Indian town in MP, to moving to JJ School in Mumbai to moving to France on a French Government Scholarship to study at the prestigious Ecole Nationale Superior de Beaux-Arts to even teaching at the University Of California at Berkeley, Raza was thus exposed to art in a very uniquely expansive way. Though he still chose to come back to his roots here and explore the spirituality of our ancient culture through the only language an artist knows, painting. He found his muse soon enough in the BINDU and the geometry that symbolises the primordial seed of humanity and its existence. The astounding abstraction of this complex philosophy into alluring colours and forms are folklore now of course for anyone who understands art.
Inspiring, supporting, mentoring a whole generation of artists, Raza has defined the true nature of an artist, who exists only to create, enkindle and invigorate. Although he also redefined commercial success with the remarkable prices that his work commanded in international auctions, he was far removed from any sort of commerce in his simplicity of thought and living. This is what makes some of the people legends from the billions of us.
Rest In Peace Raza Sahib.
(The writer is an eminent Delhi-based artist. You can follow his work here)