Modernist SH Raza and his preoccupation with the bindu!

  • IANS, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 28, 2015 17:07 IST

"I live to paint; I paint to live." At 93, the revered modernist SH Raza continues to paint and project many dualities and pluralities of life through his favourite 'bindu' subject. A new manifestation of his imagination is in the shape of 44 works that are exhibited in Delhi.

"I paint by divine grace. By God's grace. I believe I cannot paint without this deep faith in God, creativity and imagination. I follow a simple regime: I live to paint; I paint to live. As long as you have the creative fire in you, age cannot deter or stop you," Raza told IANS in an interview.

A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, Raza still paints with the same enthusiasm that he displayed several decades ago, and credits his creative fire for the uninterrupted strength.

The current collection of canvases and paperworks that the artist has worked on in the last one-and-a-half-years has been displayed on the walls of the Vadehra Art Gallery in a show titled "Aarambh". The exhibition is on till March 18.

While the 'bindu' (dot) remains the centrepiece of all his works, Raza sees these as a continuum of his previous works.

"Mew works should be seen as a continuum. They are in my own tradition except that I hope they offer new explorations, fresh insights and exciting combinations," Raza told IANS in an interview.

"Bindu, as I have often said, is the centre of silence, energy and imagination. It is inexhaustible and yet it remains a challenge to any creative imagination, including mine. I keep on returning to it since it offers new possibilities and new combinations," he added.

Unlike his masterpieces like "Tribhuj" (triangle) or "Prakrati Purusha" (male/female energy), Raza hasn't chosen a particular theme this time to weave magic on the canvas. In fact, his preoccupation with colours comes out well in the exhibition.

"It is difficult to describe themes. There are so many. Yet, I could say that my preoccupation is colour - its immensity, its immense possibilities. Colour for me is a primary manifestation of life, existence, creativity and imagination," Raza said.

While on the surface his works might not evoke an immediate reaction, but Raza's compositions are rooted in the hope and belief that "truth triumphs and peace prevails".

"Art as also literature and other forms of creative expression ultimately offer you a site of equality and justice, of beauty and peace. Art demolishes many boundaries," he said.

"I see that there is a better climate for creative arts but also attempts to curb freedom of expression are unfortunately growing. I feel enthusiastic about the first and unhappy about the second," Raza added.

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