Artist SH Raza, who turns 91 today, says that he feels sad when he sees artists and their works being attacked in the name of hurt sentiments. “An artist is free to paint, if someone does not believe in the artist’s ideologies, he should criticise but not attack his works. This is no way,” says the veteran artist. Speaking about his friend and co-member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, the late artist MF Husain, who lived the last part of his life in exile, and died in London in 2011, Raza adds, “Husain should have explained himself. I feel sorry for him. People see the canvas, but do not understand the feelings behind it. It makes me sad.”
However, Raza hasn’t lost hope. He is upbeat about his next exhibition, Antardhwani that opens in the Capital today, at Vadehra Art Gallery. “The exhibition will see 25 new works of mine that I have created after coming back to India. It is an important event for me as no one in India has seen my recent works in the last 30 years,” he shares, adding, “I have seen fake works of mine at some places and it’s not right. This practice should be discouraged. Young artists, instead of copying my works, should create their own and make a name for themselves.” Raza relocated to India from France in 2010. “It took time to come back, but I am happy I am finally here, amid my friends and fans in Delhi,” he says.