SH Raza ‘Nirantar’ Ranjit Hoskote & Ashok Vajpaeyi


In some countries, the cultural authorities designate as national treasures not only precincts, buildings and artefacts, but also individuals who have, through their thought and work, contributed to the creation and nourishment of culture. In this sense, S H Raza is a national treasure. Raza is the last surviving founder member of the Progressive Artists Group, which was among the most salient of the circles and formations of artists who came into their own during the late 1940s in India.Well into his nineties, he continues to be a questor for new horizons of significance. Over the decades, he has renounced the pleasures of the perceived landscape and the figure’s mingled festivity and anguish. Instead, he has dedicated himself to a symbolic vocabulary and a system of geometrical interpretations with which he celebrates the cosmos in which the individual is both homeless wanderer and returning native.The bindu or plenum-void is the best known of Raza’s symbols, but his pictorial subtleties embrace a far wider range of preoccupations. He invokes the blaze of the desert sun, the shadows of clouds, the presence of the replenishing waters, the unread map of the cardinal directions. Raza is the cartographer of the spirit’s seasons: witness to all that is subject to the flux of time and also to all that remains constant, that abides despite the flux of time.This book provides a documentation of S H Raza’s works made since his return from France to India in 2011, and presented by Art Musings.