The artist Syed Haider Raza started off painting landscapes, but some time in his journey into metaphysics and the biology, he chose the "Bindu", or the central point of energy, as his chief symbol, and the circles of life to surround it, as his theme of work.
He said the "Bindu" was like the seed, the beginning of all life, that contained everything that would "ever be".
He added in his works later, concepts of the "Tribhuj" or sacred triangle, as well as symbols of Purusha and Prakriti (the male and female forms of energy). All in resplendent acrylics and oils.
And I somehow remembered another circle of life, the song from "The Lion King", with its spectacular opening lines in the Zulu language, and that ended with a universal message:
Raza lived in France for more than six decades, and exhibited there extensively. He returned to India only in 2010. But as far as his thinking and his compositions went, he was always in India. He remarked on his return, that he "had never left".
He died a few days back, on the 23rd July, 2016, at the ripe old age of 94. Interestingly, apart from the last two months when he was seriously ill, and towards the end he was in fact on life support, Raza painted every singly day of his adult life! He said his job was to paint, and his day must "begin and end with art". Even after his return to India, Raza was exhibiting fresh paintings every year.
|Raza at his studio|
Like many artists who become famous towards the end of life, Raza had seen many ups and downs in life. Few know that for some time, to make ends meet, he even taught Hindi in France!
What will be remembered surely, is that in 2010, one of his paintings "Saurashtra" sold for a staggering $34.87 Million at a Christie's auction.
|From the Saurashtra series|
"....It's the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life."