“I want to tell the French government then I no longer want to live or paint or sell in France,” Raza says to a reporter from the Business Standard.
There are many reasons for him to want to return: His French, artist-wife died some years ago, just before his global fame peaked, in fact — though they had not lived in a state of penury for some while — his health is failing and he has no family in France, Indians are paying huge money to acquire his works, and he has started Ekatar, a permanent centre for art in the most holistic sense of the term, to be built on land close to Delhi, of which his Raza Foundation (which gives annual scholarships to artists, painters, dancers and poets) will be a small part. [ . . . ]
He’s looking forward to his return to India “even though I’ve so little time and energy”, but moans that the country has still to develop its art infrastructure. As I pay a humongously steep bill for essentially ghar-ka-khana — but then, again, who said you can get Raza cheap any more? — he laments, “Unfortunately, records here are rare, museums are few, books on contemporary art don’t exist, the officials at our embassies don’t promote art the way the Chinese do. Art,” he explains, “is not a waste, it is another excursion of the mind,” and as a reminder of, finally, financially rewarding times, adds, “And money is not a bad thing.”
Lunch with BS: S.H. Raza (Business Standard)