Razi Rozario’s paintings and drawings on display at the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery in Kozhikode are a celebration of the artist’s memories of childhood.
With a liberal use of colours in his oil paintings done with knife and apt use of black, white and grey in his charcoal sketches, Razi succeeds in bringing alive the richness of the landscapes, faces, bodies and themes around us.
Razi says that ‘Droplets,’ the theme name for his exhibition, is about people who had one set of aspirations in childhood and who look at their past through the experiences of adulthood.
“I have chosen simple themes like friendship, solitude, boredom and sorrow. People immediately relate to such paintings,” says Razi, ruing about the loss of popularity that painting has suffered. “I have often seen people enter hesitantly into an art gallery but leave at double speed because they can’t understand the works on display.”
Reminded of his abstract oeuvre, Razi says that they are fewer in number and visitors would have spent time savouring the simpler paintings and thus would put some effort in understanding the meaning and depth of his more serious works.
Razi also believes in selling his works cheap, if the layperson is to appreciate his art. “Most of my paintings are priced as low as Rs.150 and upwards.” Razi does not restrict his painting exhibitions to art galleries but takes them to schools, colleges and festivals in temples, mosques and churches.
A self-taught artist from Aluva, Razi’s early attempts at oil paintings with knife drew criticism but years of refining his craft won him admiration.
Dubbing the ‘Laughing Christ’ as his best work so far, Razi says, “Jesus Christ is always portrayed as pensive, sad or in pain but my view is that men like Christ and Gandhi must have had a perpetual smile on their face if they could love and sacrifice so much for human beings.”
Razi has also published a set of poems titled ‘The Ploughed Up Sky’ (Uzhuthumaricha Aakasham) on six of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. Razi says: “I should have come to Calicut earlier. I have not seen so much interest in art elsewhere in Kerala.” The exhibition closes on June 7.