AK Raina
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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



A.K. Raina

Press Clippings

This painter once lived in idyllic surroundings, next to Shalimar Gardens outside Srinagar. Here were shoals of flowers in spring or summer, or else the multitudinous snowdrops. The grass overspreading the garden may well have been his delight. Across the valley, the immense green valley, white peaks rose against the sky. Whiteness of snow drops, the purity of light: the secret intimacy of flowers in the foreground; the elemental vastness of the far-flung lower hills and skies: this was his world, the country of his imagination.

For A.K. Raina the wonder of creation, then was never an esoteric thing-remote, calculated, difficult, but immediately and perpetually perceptible. He nevertheless never painted flowers, grasses or the mountains, but rather his wonder of them. And this ‘wonder’ found its most luminous expression in the body of his work particularly the one he puts up right now- most of it in acrylic, some of it water colour. All these works are fresh, re creative and companionable. His is a happy art despite all the travails he has undergone during these past few trying years, an art that is radiant, without a trace of suffering. It is remarkable that the painter has kept a level head despite the great provocation from the times. It is therefore an art of much subtlety and sophistication with an intensity of direct observation and feeling. In other words it is refined, impassioned and unfettered.

The artist has of course something in common with certain of the painters of the century, but he always follows his own path. In innumerable edenic images, he celebrates his feeling for the vivid consciousness of life expressed in nature. Such work is done with a magical simplicity and miraculous economy. This is certainly true of the chosen of the works. Here the artist has entered by a kind of love, into union with the life that inheres in the spirit of forms, as in the light that emanates from the spectrum of colours.

In such works he explores a variety of formal resolutions of the possibilities opened up by a process of simplification derived from the originals in nature- grasses, trees, hills and dales: the geometry and hues of mother earth. A treat!

Keshav Malik

The valley of Kashmir endowed with nature’s abundance was my home once. There I was born and lived and was cradled by nature in her lap. To me she provided not only fullness of sensuous pleasure by her superb attraction, but also made me a painter with quest, compelling me to give expression to the intense, bright and clear surroundings created by nature around me.

Away from my home, out in the open and away from the august forms, I am conscious of the mysterious process of awe inspiring aspects of nature influencing my mind.

The mountain peaks, the glaciers, the lakes of emerald green, the dense forests of dark green pines and deodars, the winding and aimlessly flowing rivulets, making music on their pebbly beds, the willow groves and above all the majestic chinars. These are the images which rise at my will from my consciousness and again merge into the same like rising and merging waves of the ocean.

A.K. Raina

Mother Sharika

She is the mother of universe, who has countless forms. She is the supreme power. Giver of perfection, in every action. May she protect all……….

AK Raina

A Contemplation of the macrocosm…….

The goings on in the bullet shattered Kashmir, has not led merely to the creation of bloody and melodramatic canvasses by the valleys painters. That would be too banal. A.K. Raina at least has kept his cool, concentrating only on the light above the murk. He is not saying much, in words. But even when keeping largely mum, he makes us sense the silent holiness that is quite different from routine religiosity.

The painter's best work, pleads not tourism, but a wordsworthian inner eye, or the contemplation of the macrocosm in its strartling rain bow colours. Such a felt remembrance frees us of our meanness. At least four of Raina's landscapes by the simple device of compounding images, treble their imaginative strength, and are not the usual ware in the genre. In certain works, number 3 for example, the unique characteristics of the valley have been captured in a nut shell. Numbers 6,8 and 10, bring us to book- to the  intuition of the power and glory of the greater world within which lies our microscopic and ephemeral one.

Times of India, New Delhi, April 11, 1991

Soul-stirring Landscapes……

……….the emphasis with A.K. Raina rarely comes out in capturing the physical ambience of a scene, despite the fact that what we confront, to begin with, is a sort of physical content. The visual approach, let us not forget demands it.

……. A.K. Raina has captured the spiritual core of Kashmir cutting out the non essential though relevant.

Statesman, New Delhi, April 15, 1991

Designs in nature……

As a Kashmiri artist, A.K. has a built in love for nature: the green hills and valleys, the snow capped peaks, the grandeur of light and colours during change of seasons. A.K.'s landscapes have a graphic simplicity in their colour areas, focusing more on the colour-values and the directions of the painted areas than on painterly brush work, and some of them are remarkable for their design value. A.K. divides his canvasses in ‘frames’ of oblong, breaking the continous surface in rectangles, which give them a kind of intensity.

In his paintings, the massive shoulders of the mountains become a play of colour diagonals, for instance in No 2 . The charm of the painting lies in its economy of pictorial means…….

Indian Express, New Delhi, April 14, 1991

The inner life of landscapes……..

……The mountains and rolling hills of the Kashmir Valley of Raina's child hood become abstract relations of space and colour, protected by a hard and smooth exterior. At the same time their self imposed serenity protects from the grief over the loss of paradise. But Raina's works still betray their inner turbulence in the contrast that exists in his canvasses between the remote mountain forms and the lava- like explosions of colour that accompany them. Raina knows that he is building up an illusion, but he appears to want to remind one that all illusions are transitory….

The Hindustan Times, New Delhi, April 22, 1991

Concentrating on mega feel….

"It is my other self", says Raina, that walks the streets and corridors of Delhi, both god and beauty are back there-God and beauty about which the famous Kashmiri saint poetess, Lalded, had mused at length."But feeling and moods are illusory. You feel them this moment and the next moment they are gone. And you are left with a kind of enrichment yet you are frustrated that they went out of your grasp. Raina tries to capture that elusive beauty, that enriching feel which nature alone can give you. And during this process there is no time for detail. Going for detail makes you miss the major part of the experience. Hence his concentration on the mega feel instead of the minute - the minute that gets you into quite another kind of involvement.

Raina in order to get the maximum of that rich experience on his canvas, uses space like the creator of the moghul miniatures. He tries to present many glimpses of the fleeting phenomenon as compartmentalized views, integrated in a way that would give some idea of the complex and passing phenomenon-the phenomenon that is breath taking, befuddling and which transports one into quite another world

The majesty of the mountains and the mystery locked in expansive nature, is something which Raina could never put out of his mind once he became conscious of it. He would always see the majestic himalyas standing as silent witnesses to our history-the mountains that fascinated him ever since he was born in their lap. The mountains that took him to the beginning of time-to the infinite and beyond…….

Evening News, New Delhi, April 5, 1991

Honourable mention for A.K. Raina…….

…….Raina, in fact, has been long on the scene doing typical abstract landscapes of the Kashmir valley. And his style is solely his own. However there is only marginal abstraction in his works. But this small deviation creates works of enduring interest. Rich in colours Raina's landscapes depict the colourful environmental drama of the valley. Fleeting moments and fleeting colours are skillfully captured by the artist on his canvas in a perspective that is more in the category of "innovative" rather than realistic. In fact, Raina's landscapes and their colours provide more of a punch rather than a smooth perception of things within the frame.

Evening News, New Delhi, March 9, 1992

Sheer poetry……

…..This time it is different. The majority of his works currently on display are comprehensive in their presentation.

A.K. Raina has caught the mood rather at the level of philosophical depths, inspired as he was by the poetry of such renowned poets of Kashmir as Lal Ded.

A.K. Raina, is equally adept in handling, both warm as well as cold colours. And that gives him an enormous range so far as expressing the mood of the hour is concerned. Besides he is semi abstract in his approach to landscaping which enables him to to break the cordon of reality.

Evening News, New Delhi, Feb 5, 1997



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