Artist Aziz is a throwback to a time and place when artists were happy with the appreciation of friends and didn't bother about the world, writes Serish Nanisetti

Inside a restaurant in Toli Chowki, beside the staircase is a relief of Golconda fort. An image with depth, gradation in colours and it recreates the grandeur of the fort that no painting can achieve.

“It is not an original, it is a copy. But I am happy.At least someone is getting his rozi roti (daily bread) doing a copy of mine. I am not an artist I am a khiloneywala (toy maker). I make toys that make children happy,” says Aziz in a lighter vein, sitting at his Banjara Hills studio.

Reclusive painter

The reclusive painter who last held a show in the city in 1986 and a show in Delhi in 1997 had a show of his works picked from private collections at the Chowmahalla Palace and the show will travel to Pretoria in South Africa in September.

With a flowing white beard and the air fragrant with fermented grain mash, Aziz plays hard to get.

“We will talk about art and you will get to know who I am,” he says sitting expansively and sipping chai at the Chaman Bahar in Chowmahalla Palace.

Someone calls him for the inaugural of an artists' camp. Aziz peeps over his small bifocals, dips his brush and with a few strokes on the canvas brings alive an image of prancing, neighing horses.

Aziz grew up in Hyderabad and did a course at the Fine Arts College but along the way as other artists sought and basked in the sun, he moved away to do something that requires more intensity, playfulness while appearing simple and commercial.

“I am a re-creator. I create an image of what is already there. I am fascinated by the Brihadeeswara temple, the Thousand Pillars temple, the Konark. I am not one for classification of high art or low art,” says Aziz.

“If someone is offended by my painting I will destroy it. Art is for joy, for spreading happiness. It should not create ill-will,” says Aziz who spends most of his time in Moinabad.

“I used this cycle for 10 days, but there is so much traffic and it so difficult,” he says pointing at his Firefox MTB at his studio, he picks up works some of which lean towards abstract, before giving in to the figurative (he only has digital copies as the originals are in private collections). As Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan's sitar strains echo through the studio, Aziz picks up a small rectangle with red, pink, saffron, mauve and magenta. “This has been woven by my wife,” he tells us talking about his wife who is an accomplished carpet weaver. While his two sons Khaleel and Akheel are artists while another one, is a sitar player who is into software in Qatar.

Keywords: paintingartist