S. H. Raza: Ever-Shining Star Of Indian Art

BY Kalpana Shah | PUBLISHED: 26 July 2016

Each human being is like a seed. From the start of one’s life and through to the end of life, mans existence has a deep-rooted meaning. S.H Raza is one of the finest examples of a man who created an amazing tree of life through his journey.

Kalpana Shah and S H Raza 02

From a mere seedling to branches with leaves and beautiful flowers, the tree has today grown to its pinnacle with the bulk of his lifetime’s work and the people he touched with it. It now rises high above where the whole world can see. Through his work he has inspired many people and made them what are they today, the blessed flowers attached to his tree, and I am lucky to be one of those flowers, nourished and inspired by Razaji.


I remember Pinakin Patel doing-up my penthouse in Walkeshwar, when I was just a young, creatively inclined person with no formal training in Art. It was then that I lay my eyes on a Raza painting for the first time, and my heart could have known no greater joy. Following that I saw more of his works in catalogues and it was then that magic was inspired into my life. That was the beginning of me knowing him and respecting him closely as an artist and also becoming a serious collector of art.


My first possession of a Raza painting made me dance, a dance that never ended with the purchase of more and more works over the years. I became more passionate about art collection and the result of it is Tao today, which stands tall only on the basis of an immense passion for art and nothing more. It opened my doors to many artists and many different styles of Art.


His purity of thoughts was reflected in his work and even though he lived in Paris for the most part of his life, his works reflect a deep connection with India and Indian culture. His colors, patterns, and even his white spaces on the canvas in between the lines of color say a lot about his uniqueness. His works, be it large or small, had the ability to hypnotize anybody.

Kalpana Shah and S H Raza 04

Razaji was a great human being, a charming, soft-spoken, loving, caring, creative and motivating artist. Today, India has lost not only one of her greatest artists, but also one of her greatest symbols of cultural unity. As an Indian Muslim, Razaji contemplated and explored Hindu cultural symbols and concepts throughout his life. Such enlightened thought is now increasingly missed in our turbulent times.


The relation that we shared was very unique and simple. We would conceptualize a show sitting in a beautiful café in Paris together and the creative ideas would just flow. On a paper napkin of the café I would give an idea and within six months it would be brought to fruition. He would smile and say, “कल्पना की, कल्पना की मैं कदर करता हूँ ।” My golden days were with all these enlightened masters and it took me into a different world altogether. Razaji will never cease to exist for me. His powerful existence is felt through each and every colorful flower that has been created by his grace. We are blessed to be a part of Razaji’s Tree of Life.

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26 July 2016