Recognized as the first modern Indian painter, Raza enjoys a truly international reputation.
Sayed Haider Raza was born February 22, 1922 in Barbaria in the state of Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of the Indian subcontinent. He studied painting at the Nagpur School of Fine Arts before continuing his training in Mumbai (Bombay) at the Sir J.J. School of Art.
In 1947 he became a founding member of the Progressive Artists Group. In 1950 he obtained a scholarship from the French government to study in France. From 1950 to 1953, he studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He was awarded the Critic's Prize in 1956. He participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in France and abroad, including the Venice Biennales, Sao Paulo, Menton, and the New Delhi Triennale.
In 1962 he moved to Paris. From 1984 on, he returns to India every year.
From 1947 until today, he has exhibited his paintings in numerous solo exhibitions in India, Europe, America, and has received numerous awards. Several retrospectives have been devoted to him in New Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Bhopal, Cannes.
The honorary title of Padma Shri was awarded in 1981 by the President of the Republic of India.
Raza, does not paint what he sees but translates his own inner vision from memories of the perceptible and the imperceptible.
His work shows a syncretic influence mixing nature and spirituality, Western culture and Eastern philosophy. The recurring motifs in his work, the black dot and the circle are the incarnations of the Indian spiritual symbols of the bindu (dot) and the mandala (circle) at the same time that they can be considered for their full plastic quality. Whether one discerns in his works the poetic and synthetic evocation of a landscape or that of a pure abstract composition with musical virtues, whether one considers them from the angle of the profane or from that of the sacred, the paintings of Raza are in any case an invitation to contemplative and transcendental meditation.
Pierre Gaudibert, former director of the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris and the Museum of Arts of Africa and Oceania wrote:
"On the artistic scene, Raza occupies an exceptional place: by his childhood, his first artistic formation, his vast culture ... he belongs to his country of origin ... By his ties of forty years of life spent in France he is from France, from the so-called "Paris School", which has been able to integrate artists from all over the world. [...] Gradually, over the years, it became clear not a sacred "imagery", such as the abstract diagrams of forces or the visual media of meditation, but a plastic work in its own right.The Bindu, the Great Black Dot, is where the genesis of creation originates, from first light, then shapes and colors, but also vibrations, energy, sound, space, time."
Private Collection, France
Certificate of authencity provided by the Raza Foundation