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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art Modern & Contemporary Indian Art S.H. RAZA (1922 - 2016)
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Significant Letters exchanged between Raza and Prof Athwale of Nagpur School of Arts between 1968 - 1982, written in English and Hindi
Letters by S. H. Raza (b. 1922)
An artist, usually, is known only by his works and his true personality remains hidden from the public, often getting lost in the passage of history. At times biographies, if written, are maneuvered to suit personal interpretations and prejudices. Although a well studied trajectory of his work gives an indication, it is not sufficient to know the personal character of the artist.
Rarely does hard evidence come for understanding the persona of the artist which instantly helps in co-relating and understanding his works for posterity. Such proof is rare and hence commands a serious viewing.
A set of 11 hand written letters by Raza, 1968-1981, falls in such a category. These letters have been written by him to his teacher at Nagpur (Madhya Pradesh) where his artistic talent was appreciated initially by his teachers. The letters throw light on his sensitivity. His concerns at rising violent tendencies in the society and belief in the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence, at the global level are admirable (letter no. 1, Dt. 29th June 1968, Paris).
Despite his success he has remained rooted to the country of his origin. His sentiments of great respect and gratitude towards his parents and teachers are praise worthy (letter no. 6, Dt. 16th March, Paris).
Though he has lived in France for a very long time, he expresses his joy in reading and replying to the letters in Hindi (letter no.3, 3rd May 1980, Gorbio).
His (letter no. 10, 12th November 1979, Norway) gives an insight into making of 52 paintings for the famous series of “Black Sun”
Each letter gives a profound understanding of Raza as a human being. It will not be wrong to say that these letters would perhaps be of as great an importance as his art work from the point of view of Connoisseurs, Collectors and Art historians.