Along came Bindu

Crafted with years of penance, self-exploration and the urge to reinvent himself to bring about the true flair in his persona, Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016), one of the last living modernist painters, this world has seen, boards the chariot and sets off on his journey in search of his Bindu. Born as a free radical thinker in a not so free nation (British Indian colonization), the formation of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group in 1947 proved to be the turning point in his life with the introduction of Indian philosophy in the not so traditional realm of modern art.

‘Bindu’ – S.H. Raza

His abstractions of symbology and ancient Indian philosophy led to the creation of ‘Bindu’, his most acclaimed and renowned piece of art. ¬†Bindu means ‘full stop’ or ‘period’ as far as Westerners refer to it. Derived from the sole crest of universal energy, Bindu was created to symbolize the unapparent and deeply rooted beliefs & superstitions that societies have always confided in themselves from being massacred by the very ‘innovative’ tendency of mankind in the mid 20th century. The progressions of the concurrent circles emerging around the Bindu signify the layers of cultural superimpositions, materialistic camaraderie that are all bound by the well defined walls ( in white) of self control. Only one in control of his/her inner self, in control of his/her goals, finds the path to reach the Bindu- the source and the ultimate point of convergence, beyond which everything just swirls in aimless and endless orbits.

At a glance, the painting would seem like the artist has made a mockery of the appreciators. Like a game of treasure hunt, the simplistic representation of complexities via geometry doesn’t really make sense by just tagging Indian philosophy. Not to mention, based in Sainte Mere Eglise, some remote non sensical , rural end of northern France, where the people weren’t even open to the idea of Anglification, leave aside Indian philosophy. Throwing big words made it a whole lot easier. Westerners often fail to understand, that we Indians truly in our real spirit consider them to be fools with big bank balances. They pay more for stupidity.

However, Rest in Peace his soul, this craziness of a man, that Raza was, actually brought forth a very indigenous tribal art form of Gond paintings, belonging to rural Madhya Pradesh, the place where he was born.

A gond painting (source

Considering this ingenious abstraction and confluence of two completely distinct styles of art, truly has made Raza, the personality that he deserved to be. He then, went ahead with more such abstractions of the Bindu like Naga Bindu, beyond Bindu, Kundalini, and what not!!

Surya Namaskar – S.H. Raza

However a piece to be learnt from is his rendition of the Surya Namaskar, another highly acclaimed piece of art, that totally explains the delusional perception that we have of the transcendence of power, through the use of the most apt proportions in the symbols and the hue gradations, this piece instantly accentuates the exuberance of the eternal source of energy the Bindu, here representing the Sun and its abstractions via the grading principles of the miniatures.




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