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b. 1974, India

Raqib Shaw Biography

Born in Calcutta in 1974, Raqib Shaw now lives and works in London. A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins College, he has developed a fantastic universe that straddles the monstrous and the erotic. His paintings lie somewhere between the categories of fine art and applied art.

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Raqib Shaw’s extravagant paintings are fantasy worlds of animals and mythical creatures. Pulsing with suggestions of violence and eroticism, these works are rendered with extraordinary flair and detail. A vast range of sources, from English literature and Renaissance painting to Japanese kimono and Chinese cloisonné techniques, informs Shaw’s hybrid imagery.

Its visual opulence comes from the artist’s unique process, which involves building up surfaces with stained glass paint and enamel, which is then teased into shape with a porcupine quill and finished with gems, glitter and rhinestones. This is so laborious a process that the paintings take months, even years, for Shaw to complete. These works reveal both the artist’s highly resourceful imagination and his singular, innovative commitment to the process of painting.

Shaw has had solo exhibitions at Tate Modern (2006) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2008) and the Manchester Art Gallery, which travelled to the Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague. His work has been featured in dozens of group shows.

Raqib Shaw, That night in Xanadu when the birds were set free (2019–2021). Acrylic and enamel on birchwood. 137 × 109 × 5.5 cm). © Raqib Shaw. Courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. 

Raqib Shaw Featured Artworks

The Martyrdom of Icarus (After Honthorst and Carracci) by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawThe Martyrdom of Icarus (After Honthorst and Carracci), 2018–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
90.8 x 119.7 x 5.4 cm
Pace Gallery
Three Graces by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawThree Graces, 2019Acrylic, graphite, and enamel on paper
30 x 42.1 cm
Pace Gallery
The Four Seasons Spring by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawThe Four Seasons "Spring", 2018–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
114 x 120 cm
Pace Gallery
Allegory of Memories through Monozukuri by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawAllegory of Memories through Monozukuri, 2018–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
121 x 100 cm
Pace Gallery
From Narcissus to Icarus (After Déjeuner sur l’herbe) by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawFrom Narcissus to Icarus (After Déjeuner sur l’herbe), 2017–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
154 x 182 cm
Pace Gallery
Self-Portrait in Kashmir Landscape (After Joachim Patinir) by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawSelf-Portrait in Kashmir Landscape (After Joachim Patinir), 2017–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
122 x 152 cm
Pace Gallery
Ode to the Valley of Wonderment by Raqib Shaw contemporary artwork
Raqib ShawOde to the Valley of Wonderment, 2017–2019Acrylic liner and enamel on Birch wood
114 x 154 cm
Pace Gallery

Raqib Shaw Current & Recent Exhibitions

Raqib Shaw Represented By

Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in 540 West 25th Street, New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, East Hampton, Palm Beach, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul
White Cube contemporary art gallery in Mason's Yard, London, United Kingdom White Cube Hong Kong, London, New York, Aspen, Paris

Raqib Shaw In Related Press

Interview with Raqib Shaw Related Press Interview with Raqib Shaw 1 September 2016, The Brookyn Rail

Raqib Shaw’s narrative-fueled fantastical landscapes draw upon his homeland of Kashmir, making reference to issues of memory, history, and identity. The painter’s sources are far-reaching, ranging from his own studio in South London (a former sausage factory transformed by Shaw into an oasis filled with bonsai trees and beehives) to...

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Inside Raqib Shaw's fantasy factory Related Press Inside Raqib Shaw's fantasy factory 23 April 2016, Financial Times

At the western end of Peckham High Street, the mobile phone shops and fast food give way to a bleak thoroughfare of boarded-up frontages. One hoarding, topped with metal spikes, has a small gate. Pass through that low door and the cacophony of south London is stilled. Thousands of tulips shoot up from terracotta pots, abundant forsythia bloom...

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India'S Most Expensive Contemporary Artists Related Press India'S Most Expensive Contemporary Artists 18 November 2014, C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia for The Culture Trip India / November 2014

Art from the Subcontinent has gained popularity in the past decade, with prices for contemporary artists reaching millions of US dollars at auction. Although the most expensive and popular artists in India are still modernist masters, such as Gaitonde, Souza and Mehta, younger generations of artists are proving to be much more sought after on the...

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Raqib Shaw: Inside The Garden Of Earthly Delights Related Press Raqib Shaw: Inside The Garden Of Earthly Delights 4 November 2013, Alex Needham / W Magazine

A former sausage factory is the last place you’d expect to find ­Shangri-la. Yet behind the high wooden boards that shield the spartan building from South London’s grungy Peckham Road is a bower of bliss to overwhelm the senses. Mountains of flowers and trees—magnolias, azaleas, ferns, begonias—are piled up in pots...

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