Here's for some creativity

Here's for some creativity


A nine-day long festival of music, art, dance and poetry was recently organised to celebrate the 90th birthday of artist Syed Haider Raza.

Celebration time : S H Raza looks at a painting.

The festival ‘Aviraam,’ celebrating visual and performing arts was organised by The Raza Foundation.

Since last 10 years, the foundation, instituted by the senior artist has been awarding young artists in the field of fine arts, performing arts and poetry.

The festival that celebrated Raza’s contribution to art also featured 37 artists, musicians, dancers and poets who were awarded by the foundation for their work.

“The foundation has completed a decade and Razaji has turned 90. So, we thought the best way to celebrate his birthday and 10th anniversary of the foundation would be to bring all these awardee artists under one roof,” said Ashok Vajpeyi, noted writer and executive trustee of the foundation.

“The festival was named ‘Aviraam’, which means ‘without a stop’, because even at the age of 90, S H still paints,” he added. Of the 37 artists who participated in the event, 17 were visual artists, seven poets and 11 classical musicians and dancers.

The week-long festival, organised in collaboration with Sangeet Natak Akademi, India Habitat Centre and Vadehra Art Gallery with support of Ministry of Culture, had performances by Mohiniattam dancer Gopika Varma, Bharatnatyam dancer Malavika Sarukkai, Odissi dancers Surupa Sen and Sujata Mohapatra, Manipuri dancer Priti Patel and a senior dancer of Jaipur Gharana Prerana Shrimali.

Young classical musicians like rudra veena player Bahauddin Dagar, Hindustani vocalists Uday Bhawalkar, Satyasheel Despande and Kaivalya Kumar Gurav also paid tribute to Raza through their performances.

Talking about the festival and his foundation, Raza said, “The scene of arts in India is very vibrant and younger generation deserves support and attention. I am happy these young artists are being featured in this festival.”

Artwork of contemporary artists like Atul Dodiya, Jayashree Chakravarty, Manish Pushkale, Akhilesh, Seema Ghurraiya, Avadhesh Yadav, Rm Pallaniappan, Smriti Dixit, Sanju Jain, S Harsha Vardhana, Rahim Mirza, Yusuf, Vanita Gupta, Sheetal Gattani, Saba Hasan, Sujata Bajaj and Yogendra Tripathi were exhibited at the Visual Art Gallery as part of the festival.

A poetry reading session was also held where some well known poets like Udayan Vajpeyi, Teji Grover, Anamika, Savita Singh, Yatindra Mishra (Hindi), Nilim Kumar (Assamese) and Ranjit Hoskote (English) participated.

Widely acknowledged as one of the masters of modern Indian art, Raza received his training in art at Nagpur and Bombay. After winning French Government scholarship, he moved to Paris to pursue further studies in 1950.

He stayed there for 60 years and set up his home and studios there. He has now shifted back to Delhi and plans to spend the rest of his life here.