Veteran artist set to launch fellowship on art criticism

Age has not diminished nor custom staled Syed Haider Raza, the Grand Old Man of modern Indian art who celebrated his 90th birthday here on Wednesday.

In his 91st year, the artist, who set up the Raza Foundation in 2001 to promote young artists in the fields of fine arts, performing arts and poetry, is now set to launch fellowships on art criticism.

“Raza Sahib's deep passion for art and his never say die attitude draws him towards the brush and paints. He has always believed that whatever be the form of art, it is essential for the practitioner to be disciplined and work towards it,” said noted writer and former Lalit Kala Akademi chairman Ashok Vajpayee.

Memorial lectures named after V.S. Gaitonde, Kumar Gandharva, Habib Tanvir, Agyeya, Kelucharan Mohapatra and Mani Kaul, as well as a series of panel discussions in a new series called Art Matters are scheduled for the weeks ahead.

Born in 1922, the artist, who is now widely acknowledged as one of the masters of modern Indian art, had humble beginnings in Madhya Pradesh and received his training in art at Nagpur and Mumbai.

After winning a French Government scholarship he moved on to Paris to pursue studies in art in 1950. He stayed back in France for 60 years, setting up his home and studio there. Over a year ago he returned to India and said he plans to spend the rest of his life in his home country.

In 2010, his painting “Saurashtra” created a record by becoming the costliest modern Indian art work to be auctioned at $3.5 million dollars in London. — PTI

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