Signed and dated in English (lower right and verso)
Acrylic on canvas
38.5 x 78 in | 97.8 x 198.1 cm
Vistaar: S H Raza, eds: Ranjit Hoskote, Ashok Vajpeyi, Yashodhara Dalmia, Avni Doshi, Afterimage Publishing, 2012
Also included in this lot is the book "Vistaar", on whose cover this work has been published
Syed Haider Raza is one of the most important Modernists in the history of Indian art. A member of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, his art knows no bounds. In his formative years, Raza began painting landscapes and cityscapes extensively. By the 1970s, he felt the need to re-engage with his cultural roots. His works shifted to take geometric forms, all the while subsumed by his inner quest for spiritual and metaphysical harmony. Elements of Hindu philosophy are heavy within his work, and the Bindu features frequently in his works. The black dot, for Raza, represented the starting point from which all form emerged and ended; it was the "seed, bearing the potential of all life," he often said.
Atmaras is an acrylic on canvas from Raza's solo exhibition Vistaar that took place at the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2012. This work belongs to the later period of Raza's life when he returned to his homeland and took on painting "India in India" (Ashok Vajpeyi, Vistaar: S.H. Raza, Afterimage Publishing, a division of Art Musings, Mumbai, 2012, pg. 98). The concentric hues of soothing whites and greys intermingling with the more sombre tones of browns and greys-all centred around the ubiquitous Bindu-lull the viewer to introspect in solace. This meditative invocation of Atmaras resonates with critic Ranjit Hoskote's reflection on Raza's works: "Perhaps all of Raza's painting are, in fact, prayers: articulations of hope, love, faith in the survival of all that is most valuable in the human quest, even in the face of the most uninhibited cruelty, betrayal and terror." (Ibid., pg. 23).
The work features on pages 114 - 115 of the book "Vistaar: S. H. Raza", a copy of which is included in the sale of this lot.