Although Raza left India in 1950 to live in France, it is to images of his childhood spent in the forests of Madhya Pradesh to which he returns time and again for inspiration. The forests, the mountains, the river, the sun and the earth have served as pictorial metaphors to express his intuitive understanding of a higher reality.
In his mature phase, these elements become abstracted and the canvas explodes with vibrant colour. The colour harmonies relate back to Rajput and Jain painting. In his statement at the Visual Art East West Encounter, held in 1985 Raza claims that upon examining traditional painting, 'we began to realise that the relevance of the painting was not only in the subject and the theme, but in a newly perceived formal order of colour orchestration.' (Dr G. Sen, Raza, Lalit Kala Academi, New Delhi, 1990.)