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Friends first, competitors later: Major exhibition on Raza and his contemporaries


New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) The Dhoomimal Gallery will present ‘Raza and His Contemporaries, drawn from the Ravi Jain Collection of modern Indian art from February 7 to March 10 at its gallery in New Delhi.

The exhibition has been curated by Yashodhara Dalmia, art historian and author of the recent biography ‘Sayed Haider Raza: The Journey of an Iconic Artist’.

Boasting of works of 20 significant artists who played a crucial role in overthrowing notions of academic art and creating a strong bid for the liberalizing of practices and shaping modernism in Indian art, the exhibition celebrates S.H. Raza’s achievements as well as those of his contemporaries in the Progressive Artists Group, including Sayed Haider Raza, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, K.H. Ara, S. Bakre and H.A. Gade, and the simultaneous emergence of other influential artists of his time such as J. Swaminathan, K.G. Subramanyan, Pradosh Dasgupta, Biren De, Jamini Roy, Zarina Hashmi, and others.

This was the grand generation that strived to achieve excellence in art and succeeded in placing India on the international art map.

The exhibition focuses on Raza, in his centenary year, as one of the main initiators of the Progressive Artists Group, and explores the richly diverse voices and influences that coloured Indian modernism. It traces Raza’s sweeps of brilliance from primary colours and sizzling Bindu’s to his rise in the international art world in Paris to become a household name in Indian art.

Speaking on the exhibition, Yashodhara Dalmia, the curator, says: “This highlights some of the foremost modern artists in the country and reveals their contribution to the development of art. In doing so, it carves the path that art was to take in the decades that followed. Among these, the artist S.H. Raza was one of the leading contributors with his blazing paintings which in their incandescent use of colour and their reflection of the world outside were skilled in themselves and relevant for the viewer.”

Adding that the exhibition presents a new conversation with 20 significant artists who shaped modernism in Indian art, celebrating Raza’s achievements alongside those of his contemporaries in the Progressive Artists Group and the simultaneous emergence of other influential artists of his time, Uday Jain, Director, Dhoomimal Gallery, said: “The exhibition design will also play an important role in the show, inviting viewers to engage in deeper conversations, many for the first time, with the diverse voices of Indian modern art, and reflect on their relevance today.”



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