Art retrospective honouring late Indian modern artist S H Raza opens in Dubai

Update: 2024-03-08 13:50 GMT
The overseas show is the centenary celebration of the enduring legacy of S. H. Raza

New Delhi: A retrospective honouring the extraordinary life and work of the eminent artist S. H. Raza on the occasion of his 100th birth anniversary has opened its doors to the public in Dubai, UAE, on March 1, 2024. Titled "Raza: The Other Modern", it is open till May 31, and invites art connoisseurs to celebrate the late artist’s outstanding body of work and explore the depth of his artistic genius.

Presented by Progressive Art Gallery in collaboration with The Raza Foundation, this landmark exhibition showcases Raza's iconic Bindu series and his mesmerizing abstraction, offering a journey through the evolving phases of his life and artistic endeavors.

Sayed Haider Raza, known simply as Raza, is a name that resonates with art aficionados worldwide. From the vibrant landscapes of Babaria in Madhya Pradesh to the bustling art scene of Paris and back to India, Raza's journey embodies the power of artistic vision and cultural amalgamation.

In the vibrant, cosmopolitan city of Dubai, "Raza: The Other Modern" finds a fitting backdrop, symbolizing the synthesis of East and West, tradition and modernity. This exhibition serves as a bridge between cultures, inviting visitors to explore the depth of Raza's artistic genius.

The gallery director Harsh Vardhan Singh, commented, "Raza: The Other Modern not only celebrates the artist's remarkable body of work but also invites you to explore the depth of his artistic genius. As you walk through this retrospective, I encourage you to reflect on the spiritual and cultural resonance in Raza's creations."

“A number of shows have been held across the world, including in Paris, New York, New Delhi, and Mumbai, to celebrate Raza’s birth centenary. The present show in Dubai is the latest in the series. Many of these have brought public attention to works that were either not accessible to or not seen before by the public. Almost all of them reaffirm that Raza merged his life and art seamlessly; that he made colours speak and sing; that he created art celebrating life and being; that he explored the possibility of the sacred through the sensuous; that he discovered a unique idiom for himself,” said Ashok Vajpeyi, Director of the Raza Foundation and a lifelong friend of Raza’s.

As art historian and curator Yashodhara Dalmia puts it, the indigenous traditions of his country, where colours express mood, as well as the influences of abstract expressionism, inform Raza’s work. Detailed essays by Dalmia, Gayatri Sinha and Geeti Sen, elaborating on the artistic genius of Raza, find space in a book (by Mapin Publishing) accompanying the book. It will be launched soon during the ongoing exhibition.

Gayatri Sinha writes that In Raza’s long career, one may trace at least three phases of abstraction, each seeking a different form of expressivity. Many of these works done in different styles, spanning the length and breadth of his work, will be on view at the Dubai gallery.

“In the last 30 years that he painted, Raza’s images were transformed into abstractions; they signify more than is stated. Abstraction is a state of mind. With meditation, the cognition of the outer world penetrates to another level of consciousness. In these diagrams is realized the infinite potential of the artist’s interior vision. Symbolic images exist, which may be visual referents for his vocabulary. Raza’s paintings explore, through a few chosen signs of the circle, the square and the triangle, a sense of the infinite,” cultural historian Geeti Sen wrote in her essay.


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