April 03, 2020
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S.H. Raza

The painter is home to celebrate his 85th birthday and release a book on his life and works

S.H. Raza
S.H. Raza
85 years young—how do you look back?

With amazement. And a sense of satisfaction. I’ve lived fully, and worked with passion and great intensity as a painter and thinker.

Tell us about this book on Raza?

It has been carefully prepared for two years and will be released on February 22. It’s important to me because it is a summary of a lifetime of work and preoccupation of Raza, the man and the painter.

What made you go to France?

I thought French art was the most interesting 20th century contemporary art. I loved it.

Any regrets?

Not at all. I come back to India every year. Paris was an eye-opener. It provided me with a congenial atmosphere to work and study paintings for 30 years.

What do you think is the main difference between Indian and European art?

Europeans see things from the retina. Indians view things from the inner eye, or third eye.

Tell us about your personal style?

I needed 30 years to master the art of painting before I came to a personal style, which includes Indian concepts and iconography like the bindu, purush-prakriti, nari and so on.

Indian art seems to have made its presence felt internationally now—would you agree?

It has had many difficult years in the past. Only the last 2-3 years has it come on the international plane in a big way. It’s everywhere—New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Canada, and Germany.

The flip side of globalisation of Indian art?

Art is being bought with a view to speculation and material value. This is becoming priority. Art is to be loved, not speculated.

What do you say is the role of the gallery?

To make a good selection of artists, and present their work in a way that does them justice.

Are you still painting?

Yes, like mad!

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