As a child growing up in India, art meant the Ravi Varma paintings of Gods and Goddesses hanging on our walls and in the puja room. Modern art was an alien concept. We would hear about modern artists and their exhibitions happening somewhere in South Bombay, in an accessible part of the world. Art education in schools was also sadly lacking. We were not taught how to appreciate art, till I came here to the US and took a course in design fundamentals at a local community college. This opened up a whole world to me. I was able to have a language to appreciate all kinds of art – modern, traditional and anything in between.
Raza was a celebrated modern artist from India, a contemporary of MF Hussain. He passed away this year at the age of 94.
Raza’s Bindu is a fabulous picture book by Ritu Khoda and Vanita Pai. It is an excellent effort to make Raza’s art accessible to children.
From a brief introduction on how the “bindu” became the central theme of Raza’s paintings, the book takes us through his paintings, prompting questions like –
Every few pages there is a worksheet that lets the child try her hand at drawing the bindu, spirals and then to make a more complicated painting in Raza’s style using sticker shapes. The hands-on approach makes the idea of the paintings a more closer experience, giving the child a chance to really “see” the painting as they examine it closely to see what aspects of the painting to adopt.
A picture book to keep and look at again and again. And then to go to a museum to look for more modern art!