Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages honoured internationally acclaimed artist, Sh Raza, for his pioneering work in the development of modern art in Kashmir. Secretary Academy, Khalid Bashir Ahmad felicitated Raza by presenting a memento, citation and a Kashmiri shawl in recognition of his contribution which helped the art of painting flourish in J&K.
The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was scheduled to do the honour himself but had to cancel his Delhi visit in view of a pressing engagement back home. He also cancelled his press conference in Delhi press club.
The presentation was made at a ceremony held at India International Centre here. An elite group of prominent artists literarily the Who is Who of Indian arts including Krishan Khanna, OP Jain, Umesh Verma, Jyotindra Jain, Ashok Bajpayi, Suresh Neotia and Dr. Kalyan K. Chakravarty besides foreign and local art lovers and friends of Raza were present. Accepting the honour, Raza, 90, said he was honoured and thanked the
Making a brief speech, Khalid Bashir highlighted the special relationship Raza has had with Kashmir and his contribution to the development of fine art in the state. Raza’s relationship with Kashmir dates back to 1948 when he visited and inspired modern art movement there. His first solo exhibition was held at Srinagar that year. Young and budding artists came in contact with him and were introduced to the latest trends in the art of painting. Some of these rose to become prominent artists of the country.
Raza also inspired setting up of the first organisation of artists in Kashmir named the Progressive Artists Association and attended its maiden meeting. He was allowed by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to travel throughout Kashmir and do the on spot painting. Interestingly, it was in Kashmir that the famous photographer Henry Carti Bressen advised Raza to concentrate on ‘construction of painting’ and study Cezanne that landed him in France where his life and art took a major turn.