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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




by Kathleen Raine

It must have been 1989 that I first saw paintings by K. Khosa, some in the private collection of Mrs. Frenny Bilimoria, and others at the artist's studio - grim male figures of titanic power that called to mind Michaelangelo's 'prisoners'. Some were four-headed, like the gods of India, fierce and sad, their power imprisoned within rocks, or in geometric forms, the colours gray or sombre. Yet later I discovered that they were unforgettable.

In the winter of 1990 I again visited the artist's studio, to be shown a succession of new works of amazing beauty, as if the titan-prisoners, now freed, had flowed into movement and colours which have the crystalline purity of a world newly created. Sleeping in rocks, flowing in waves, pouring in rivers or rain, merging in fire, we recognize these elementals of fire and air, and above all of earth and water. In the awesome beauty of their giant-forms, fourfold, or melting and dissolving in movement and transformation we recognize - remember as it were - that the cosmos lives with a powerful non-human life. These are sacred presences.

Khosa's pictorial context is not limited to any school or period - Michaelangelo and Picasso are clearly present - but these works are profoundly Indian in spirit. Only in India are the mountains still inhabited by the Gods, river-goddesses bring fertility, and death. These archetypal presences are not angels of the mind, but mighty cosmic powers of archaic nature.

In Khosa's recent work the themes of rock and fire are explored both in the context of nature - some of his explorations of the theme, of the Himalayas are reminiscent of the work of Nicholas Roerich - but also as interiorized themes of contemplation.

So seldom am I moved by the work of some new painter, poet or musician that I am tempted to conclude that I have with old age grown insensitive to the language of the arts. Khosa's majestic paintings reassure me - they restore to our sick human world great life-giving presences of the Imagination.

December 1994

[Kathleen Raine is widely recognized as one of the outstanding living English poets. For some five decades the appearance of each new volume of her poetry has added to her stature as a poet of rare lyric purity and imaginative integrity.]



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