Srinagar Born A K Raina Relives Nostalgia For 'lost Home Kashmir' On Canvas

Srinagar Born A K Raina Relives Nostalgia For 'lost Home Kashmir' On Canvas

12 April 2013
PTI


New Delhi: To the uninitiated, the 20-odd acrylic artwork on canvases at an art gallery in central Delhi might just appear as playful brush-strokes, but those close to the artist, may manifest in those colourful artistic gestures the subconscious pain and pathos of leaving one's homeland. For Srinagar-born septuagenarian artist A K Raina, who feels uprooted from his homeland in Kashmir, painting canvases seem like the only way to express his subconscious yearning to return and touch one's birthplace in a symbolic or rather cathartic act or a way to give vent to his inner frustration in chromatic avatar, unconsciously. 'Well, I do not try to define my work, that's why all displayed here are untitled. I also do not consciously move my paintbrush, so all you see is my subconscious mind delving into my experiences in Kashmir. But, let me tell you I'll not go back to Kashmir now. We can't be entering our own homes like thieves,' Raina told PTI in an interview. The 75-year-old painter's latest exhibition 'Exile 23 Years', of 20 -odd works done over a few years opened recently at the city-based Dhoomimal Gallery, signalling the return of the artist to the canvas after many years. 'These works are a collection of some of my painting after my 2005 exhibition with a few recent ones,' he said. And, even though I do not try to show something through strokes and colours, the pain of being uprooted from our home does surface on the canvas but I don't know how, because I paint, I just paint with spontaneity,' adds Raina. Asked if he would ever go back to Kashmir or feels the desire to, the painter reiterated the expression borrowed from the chief guest, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that 'apne hi ghar main choron ki tarah nahin ghusna hai '(We don't want to enter our own house like thieves')'. 'I don't want to go to Kashmir as a tourist. I will not go there even if they invite me for an exhibition. I now live in Indore with my son, so that is my home. And in Delhi, I have no peace here, apart from meeting my friends I feel horrible here. So, you see I'm in permanent state of exile for last 23 years, I belong nowhere,' says the artist. Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson the National commission on minorities and ex Chief Information Commissioner who was the guest of honour at the exhibiton opening commended Raina for his work and said he saw 'glimmers of Srinagar in his work'. 'Though I wasn't born in Kashmir, I have lived there during my administrative career and I must say I see glimpses of Srinagar here in his work. And, I love the state ( Jammu and Kashmir) like I love the rest of my country. 'One sees the signs of violence but also sign of hope. So, it is up to the viewers to decide to whether they want to see light triumphing over darkness or darkness over light,' said Habibullah. Habibullah who has known Raina's work and empathised with the pains 'an uprooted artist' feels after migration, also has written books on Kashmir and its conflict - 'My Kashmir: The Dying of the Light' and 'My Kashmir: Conflict and the Prospects for Enduring Peace'. He exhorted the audience to look at the works closely.