signed and dated 'RAZA '13.' and titled in Hindi (lower right); further thrice signed and dated, titled and inscribed 'RAZA / 2013 / "PRAKRITI" / 100 x 100 cm / Acrylic on canvas / Raza / Dear Farah + Ali, / Enjoy Prakriti / RAZA' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
39½ x 39¼ in. (100.3 x 99.6 cm.)
Painted in 2013
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
This work will be included in S.H Raza: Catalogue Raisonné - Volume III (1990-2016) by Anne Macklin on behalf of The Raza Foundation, New Delhi
Sale room notice
Please note that this work will be included in S.H Raza: Catalogue Raisonné - Volume III (1990-2016) by Anne Macklin on behalf of The Raza Foundation, New Delhi

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Lot Essay

Prakriti, painted in 2013, encapsulates Sayed Haider Raza’s iconic and innovative language of geometric abstraction. Geometry and its relationship to color for Raza are the basis for a codified and symbolic language. Raza uses powerful shapes and primary colors to represent different aspects of the natural world. In a sense, therefore, they represent a continued investigation into his favored genre of landscape which dominated the artist's oeuvre throughout his career. Raza’s use of this sacred geometry cracks open the interpretive space of the image; neither specific to a particular religion, nor bound to a particular geography, these forms are elemental, primordial and eternal.

According to Raza, his works from this period are essentially the "result of two parallel enquiries. Firstly, it is aimed at pure plastic order. Secondly, it concerns nature. Both have converged into a single point, the bindu, symbolizes the seed, bearing the potential for all life. It is also a visible form containing all the requisites of line, tone, colour, texture and space" (Artist statement, 'Artists Today: East West Visual Encounter,' Marg, Bombay, 1985, p. 18). Prakriti, translates roughly from Sanskrit as the natural form or condition of anything, original or primary substance. It is this cosmic origin that is at the centre of Raza’s geometric abstraction.

In Prakriti, the bindu appears multiple times reinforced by the color black, itself the color of creation. For Raza, concentric circles and geometric forms were not intended as an abstract graphic device as in the style of Frank Stella’s geometric works, but as something more fundamental, symbolic of something spiritual and primal. The circle becomes less of a structural component and more of a central point representing concentrated energy. This element, referred to as the bindu, manifests itself in various forms throughout Raza's works from the early 1980s onwards, and is variously interpreted as zero, a drop, a seed or a sperm - the genesis of creation. The bindu is the focal point for meditation and the principle around which Raza structures his canvases and indeed his entire perception of the universe. Prakriti is separated into nine distinct sections, each an individual resolved geometric configuration that relates to the larger whole. In doing this, Raza creates a universe in itself and offers his viewers a visual key with which to decode it.

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