Art in the World of a Newly Independent Nation

Friday, March 11, 2011 - 5:00 am

Art in the World of a Newly Independent Nation

Mission Delhi  Syed Haider Raza, Hauz Khas Enclave
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.’”
Maithili Parekh

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.”

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as chief content officer and executive editor. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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