Homecoming

I am a little disillusioned with the way young people want to get rich the easy way.

Written by Georgina Maddox | Published: February 18, 2009 3:37:52 am

S H Raza takes a tough stand on talent and may return to India for good

I am a little disillusioned with the way young people want to get rich the easy way.” This was the tremulous voice of the Paris-based legendary artist S H Raza who had come to his alma mater JJ School of Art to give away the awards for the most promising artists of 2009. He warned the young talent of easy fame. “An artist has to struggle and dedicate years of work,but these days I find that young artists are taking too many shortcuts. They are copying the works of well-known names and they do not even wait for the paint to dry on their canvas before they are ready to sell it,” says the artist who experienced hardships as a young man in Paris. He had to do even darn his socks and live off a tin of beans when trying to make a mark in Paris.

“Recently at the Dhoomimal Gallery,I was shocked to find about 35 works that were supposed to be mine were actually fakes,” says the artist who attended the show at the Connaught Place gallery in January. The show was subsequently closed.

“I have been looking towards the younger generation for art that is sincere,but over the years I have found lesser talent and more greed. I wanted to cry when I saw those fakes but then I thought it would be better to laugh it off,” says Raza who quite large-heartedly exonerated the gallery and his nephew who had hosted the show.

One is in awe of an 86-year-old artist who never seems to tire of sponsoring new talent.

Last night,we also saw him at the opening of Pune-based abstract painter Madhuri Bhaduri’s show. “She has talent. I find her paintings are like poetry on canvas,” says Raza whose last protégés were painters Smriti Dixit and Manish Pushkale. Pushkale is also taking care to authenticate Raza’s work since the octogenarian has failing eyesight.

After attending shows and lunch dos at Delhi,the painter is now sojourning in Mumbai,showing a few limited edition prints and plans of returning to India. “I am thinking of returning to my motherland for a while,although it may be difficult to move after so many years. The taxes that the French government is levying on me are too much for me to bear,” says the painter,finding it harder since his French wife,Janine,passed away a few years ago. The plan is to move after

December since he has already paid his tax till then.

One can look forward to more activity from the artist. Despite his failing health a tribute to Mumbai comes in the shape of a Shanti Bindu to heal the city after the terror attacks.

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