Sayed Haider Raza (b.1922)
- Sayed Haider Raza
- La Forge
- Signed 'RAZA '71' lower left and further signed, dated and inscribed 'RAZA/ P_844 '71/ "La Forge"/ 120 x 120 cm/ =(60F) + 10' on reverse
- Acrylic on canvas
Imbert, Michel, RAZA An Introduction to his Painting, New Delhi, 2003, p.46
'This square-shaped painting is composed of curved lines occupying two thirds of the canvas and vertical lines that fill the upper third... In this canvas Raza conveys to us the starting point of his journey to the depths of his origins, illustrated here by the centre of the earth, the initial magma, a source of energy indispensable for his creations.' (Imbert 2003, pp. 45-47).
Throughout his career Raza has been influenced by the mystical power of nature. The elements and the potency of colours and symbols to represent these elements are central to the evolution of Raza's artistic vocabulary. In the early years in France, Raza painted the landscapes of Europe in semi-abstracted forms but with identifiable architectural features that provide a constant link to human activity but as his works progress these identifiable elements disappear.
In 1962 Raza moved to America where he came into contact with the New York school of painters and he witnessed for the first time the Abstract Expressionism of such artists as Francis, Rothko and Pollock. Pollock's works in particular had no formal construction or sense of spatial recession which allowed the artist greater autonomy over the pictorial space which inspired Raza to experiment in new ways. Raza's own move to a less structured composition coincides with a change of medium from oil to acrylic which allowed him a greater freedom of expression, the medium itself allowing a less self conscious application of paint to the canvas resulting in more abstract yet fluid works.
These abstract creations were influenced not only by the French countryside but also represented a visual expression of his own meditations, that were inspired by the memories of his childhood in the forests of India. 'The most tenacious memory of my childhood is the fear and fascination of the Indian forest. We lived near the source of the Narmada river in the centre of the densest forests of Madhya Pradesh. Nights in the forest were hallucinating; sometimes the only humanizing influence was the dancing of the Gond tribes. Daybreak brought back a sentiment of security and well-being. On market-day, under the radiant sun, the village was a fairyland of colors. And then, the night again. Even today I find that these two aspects of my life dominate me and are an integral part of my painting... ' (Artist in conversation with Jacques Lassaigne, Sen 1997, p.88)