Art in the World of a Newly Independent Nation
by associate producer, Shubha Bala
Artist Sayed Haider Raza at Mission Delhi. (photo: Mayank Austen Soofi/Flickr)
“What was so revolutionary was that they insisted on being ‘Indian’ and ‘modern.’”
The Progressive Artists Group was founded in India in 1947, the year the country gained its independence from Britain, to “look at the world from an Indian way, not a British way,” according to Sayed Haider Raza, one of the two living original members of this group. The New York Times recently interviewed the artist about the continued legacy of this collective, which was disbanded just a decade after its creation.
“Our ways of looking at models and compositions reflected our education, which was British. In the ’30s and ’40s there was this shift from the British way of looking at art to an Indian way, which was not just about knowledge but also informed by the senses.”