S.H. Raza | Sketching Silence: D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi

16 October - 9 November 2021


Sketching Silence S. H. RAZA


16th October - 9th November 2021 Monday - Saturday | 10 am - 6 pm Vadehra Art Gallery
D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi - 110024



Imagine the loose papers of a diary cascading to the ground in a heap. As one bends to put them together, the fractals of a singular vision appear to come into view, like the snatches of conversa- tion, heard in passing.


Placed somewhere between 1950 and 1960, and then followed by sketches and jottings in 2010- 2011, Raza’s drawings appear in different formats and sizes, as if bearing little relationship to one another, or even a familial resemblance. Abandoning the impulse to seek an orderly narrative, one must give oneself up then to what they represent -- the meandering line, the disorder, the reverie, and the occasional epiphany that must have been part of Raza’s creative act.


The 89 drawings on view can compete with Raza’s paintings for attention precisely because they are disconcertingly apposite to anything that one may expect. They impress with the potency that they bear, possibly as the only living forms from the natural world that are created in Raza’s vast oeuvre of non- representational paintings. Several of the drawings however surprise with their simplicity and directness. His drawings have little of the interior, preoccupied as he is with the vast exterior spaces: some coloured drawings revealing dense, detailed depictions of a vil- lage or town, possibly Gorbio, with its distinctive church spire. Even as these drawings lull us into complacency with their easy recognition, a deep and persistent vein of existential contemplation runs through the work. Raza’s deeply personal quest for an ideal state of consciousness deter- mined not only his aesthetic choices but also his engagements with the pulse of Indian existential thought.

We’re happy to welcome visitors to the gallery, where we’re undertaking all safety protocols. A catalogue is also available on request. For all inquiries, please write to art@vadehraart.com.




Born in Madhya Pradesh in 1922, SH Raza attended the Nagpur School of Art, Nagpur, (1939–43) then went on to pursue a degree at the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai. He spent much of his time in the 1950s at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His love for Paris and modernism blossomed and remained a life-long affair, while still maintaining a strong bond with India.



His first solo exhibition earned him not only the entrance to the art world but also a silver med- al from Bombay Art Society which hosted and housed the show in 1946, Mumbai. In 1947, he co-founded the renowned Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group with F.N. Souza which successfully stormed the art world till 1956. Raza has had an astonishing creative career, including a number of well known solo exhibitions such as SH Raza – Parikrama - Around Gandhi, Vadehra Art Gal- lery, New Delhi (2014); SH Raza - Pyaas, Grosvenor Vadehra, London (2014); Aarambh - Raza at 93, Amar Prakar, Kolkata (2015); Galerie Lara Vincy, Paris (2015); and Nirantar, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata (2016), to mention his more recent shows.

Raza was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan in 2007 and 2013 respectively. He was awarded the Lalit Kala Ratna Puraskar in 2004 by the Lalit Kala Academy, New Delhi. He was also awarded the Legion of Honour by the Republic of France in 2015. The artist passed away in 2016.




Established in 1987, Vadehra Art Gallery is among the most well-respected art galleries in India representing a roster of artists spanning four generations. Modern masters like M.F. Husain, Ram Kumar, S.H. Raza and Tyeb Mehta nd prime spot in the gallery’s calendar alongside the subse- quent generation of modernists like Arpita Singh, Nalani Malani, Gulammohammed Sheikh and Rameshwar Broota. VAG’s contemporary programme includes some of the most exciting names in Indian art such as Atul Dodiya, Shilpa Gupta, Anju Dodiya, N.S. Harsha, Jagannath Panda, as well as young emerging talent. As a key artistic interlocutor to audiences in India the gallery expanded its exhibition programme in 2007 to exhibit important names from the international contemporary art scene. Since then VAG has exhibited works of signi cant international artists including Yoko Ono, Wolfgang Laib, Bernd and Hilla Becher,


Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud. Vadehra Art Gallery ventured into publishing in 1996, nding a crucial need for adequate documentation, critical writing, and quality reproduction of images. In the last two decades the gallery has published hundreds of illustrated exhibition catalogues, and several important artist monographs, some in collaboration with international publishing house, Prestel.