Sayed Haider Raza a renowned Indian Artist/painter and the founder of India’s most radical modern art movement aims to detach from the European influence and create authentic Indian art that ionizes the culture & roots. Producing a number of artworks in different styles throughout his career and attaining several awards, S. H. Raza sure is a pillar of not only Indian art but also that of South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art.
Overview of the artist
Born February 22, 1922, in Kakkaiya district of Mandla In India; and son of a ranger, S. H. Raza spent his childhood roaming in the thick forests of his home town, which later on had an apparent influence on his style.
By the age of 12, young Raza drew the first outlines of his life path and took off drawing. After high school, he enrolled in the Nagpur school of art, then followed by Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay, before eventually landing a Scholarship in France to study at L’ École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSB-A) in Paris where he lived for 60 years and married the French artist Janine Mongillat.
In spite of his settlement abroad and spending his bloom of youth there, he maintained strong ties and connection with his roots and childhood recollections. and this latter explicitly shows in his work and philosophy.
Career & Philosophy
Throughout his career, S. H. Raza experimented with a number of Modernist styles, before eventually developing his own style and creating his peculiar artistic language.
During the initial stages of his career, his work mainly revolved around natural landscapes inspired by the rural countryside of Paris, where he drew the geometrical silhouette as seen.
Over time, his landscapes would become increasingly abstract, as instead of drawing the scene He’d capture the feeling that the place evoked and its vibe, alternatively he’d draw the mind landscape rather than the pragmatic one.
Along with other artists like K. H. Ara and F. N. Souza, He co-founded the revolutionary Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group with an aim to break free from the European realism dominating Indian art schools
Seeking a new direction, one that is more authentic, and a whiff of fresh air, S. H. Raza returned to India in the 1970s, where he wandered and visited different parts of the county, reconnected with its roots in search for a subjective path, and to his luck and ours his seeking came to be fruitful, thus he didn’t just come across THE Bindu (the centre of the universe) but HIS Bindu too, the centre of his life.
The Bindu, the centre of all creations, a source of energy and Raza’s rebirth as a painter. derived from both Indian ancient philosophy and one of the painter’s most vivid childhood memories. That of his teacher marking a point on the board and asking him to focus on, in order to settle his diaspora. And indeed years later it all went back to that dot. And the Bindu became his trademark.
Later on and throughout time, he added newer broad dimensions to his work, by incorporating more elements of Hinduism and Indian mythology and philosophy such as upward and overturned triangles referring to male and female energies, and colours of the five natural elements.
The spiritual influence his oeuvres held nominated him to be the master of abstract geometrical painting.
Style of work
Along with his career, Sayed Raza was influenced by several art movements and experimented with different patterns, thus his style has changed and evolved through the years too before finally, he came across his own.
Despite being away, He held a sense of pride in his culture, and that neatly displays in his work and grants it its multidimensional and depth This latter is characterized by its fauvist colours, geometrical shapes and elements from Indian mythology and philosophy.
Recognition after death
After a prosperous career full of honours, awards, art galleries and expositions, Raza passed away in 2016 at the age of 94 years old, leaving behind a huge heritage of fine art and art philosophy As no stellar art collection is complete without one of his oeuvres.
In the intention to support and promote art among Indian youth, He founded the Raza foundation that is still to our times, working on his ennobling mission.
After his death, a committee was started under his name in Paris, to protect and preserve his legacy.
An artist, a visionary and an inspiration. Raza is one of the most distinguished artists of India. During his life and even now after his passing, his work never ceases to amaze and trigger inquisitiveness.
Through his dare to experiment and his desire to excel he managed to fuse his futurist seeing and his roots to create splendid art. He’s a revolutionary painter and his pathway is to be retained & learnt from.