Starting today, Syed Haider Raza, 90 — widely considered India’s most gifted modernist — will exhibit 30 paintings at his first solo exhibition in Mumbai in 6 years.
The exhibition will be held at the Jehangir Art Gallery for the first week and at the Art Musings gallery for a month following that.
It will showcase works that Raza has created over the past two years, ever since he left France, where he had lived for six decades before moving to New Delhi.
“I am excited about showing in Mumbai because this is the city where I started out as a serious painter decades ago,” says Raza.
It was exactly 65 years ago, in fact, that Raza and fellow modernists such as FN Souza, VS Gaitonde and MF Husain founded the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, breaking the grip of European realism on Indian art.
“I have always been touched by the enthusiastic response to my works in Mumbai,” says Raza.
“Mumbai has a long tradition of responsiveness to modern art,” he added.
Raza’s exhibition, titled Vistaar (Expanse), explores his expanded understanding of the metaphysical concepts of Indian philosophy that he has explored through his works for so many years, says Sangeeta Chopra of gallery Art Musings, organiser of the exhibition.
Speaking to Hindustan Times via email, Raza, who is now partially dependent on a wheelchair, said he still paints every day.
“Painting is more or less my life. I paint so I live,” says Raza. “For me it is like being under divine grace every day.”