S. H. Raza

Syed Haider Raza (b.1922) was born in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh and moved to Mumbai where he graduated from Sir J.J. School of Arts in 1943 and went on to be one of the founding members of the Progressive Artist's Group in 1947. After receiving a French Government Scholarship in 1950 he left for Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts, Paris. He was awarded the Prix de la Critique in Paris in 1956. In 1962, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Berkeley of California, USA. The Madhya Pradesh State Government invited Raza for a major exhibition of his works in 1978 and also awarded him with the Kalidas Bamman in 1996-97. The Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shree in 1981, one of the highest civilian honors, and  he was elected as a fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1983. Raza has exhibited at several exhibitions as well as Biennials and Triennials, Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York, Hong Kong and LA during 2001 - 2002. Recently Raza has donated many of his works and his collections of artifacts to a museum in Gorbio, France. After living in France for six decades he recently calls Delhi, India his home.

 

He started as a landscape artist in the European tradition however the 'Bindu' or dot soon became the focal point in most of his paintings incorporating tantric elements in his art. The ‘Bindu’ became more of an icon, sacred in its symbolism. According to the artist it is a manifestation of the 'panch tatwa' - the five natural elements of air, water, fire, earth and sky - on his canvas.

"I asked myself where is India in my paintings? The bindu came to my mind and it was like a seed giving birth to a tree."  - Raza
 


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