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Delhi’s birthday gift to Husain

On the late maestro’s birthday, galleries and artists across the Capital host special exhibitions in tribute to his legacy.

art and culture Updated: Sep 16, 2011 00:38 IST
Aakriti Sawhney

He was a legend. When he picked up the brush, every stroke by him on the canvas was magical. Maqbool Fida Husain, best known as the ‘Picasso of India’, left the world on June 9, 2011. But his work, memories and teachings are still alive in the city, where he spent a major part of his artistic career. Tomorrow, as the world celebrates Husain’s birth anniversary, we get you some glimpses of people, artworks and art shows from Delhi that are paying a tribute to the master.

Homage to Husain
This show is a collective effort by the members of the All India Fine Arts & Craft Society (AIFACS). They have done artworks on Husain and his life. “Back in 1954, Husain exhibited his works at AIFACS and successfully sold his painting - Zameen,” says Paramjeet Singh, acting chairman, AIFACS. “The gallery feels a close connection with the artist. It was very difficult back then to sell artworks, but nothing was difficult for him,” adds Singh. There are 45 works on display — paintings, wood cuts and sculptures.
Where: All India Fine Arts & Craft Society, 1 Rafi Marg
On till: September 30
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm

Remembering the Master
This ongoing exhibition is a solo show by artist Sandhya Singh. The show exhibits 16 artworks that are semi-figurative on Husain and his life, and reflect his style of paintings. “I really like Husain’s work. I am very impressed by his bold and confident strokes,” says Singh. All the artworks are on sale and are priced between Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 6 lakhs.
Where: India International Centre Art Gallery, IIC Annexe, Max Muller Marg
On till: today
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm

Shraddhanjali - A tribute to MF Husain
In June this year, when the owners of Anuskha Art and Design were planning their first group art show, they decided to dedicate it to Husain. “We were planning to do a group show for a very long time and decided to dedicate it to Husain. All the artists agreed to it, which shows their love towards Husain,” says Archana Banerjee, owner of the gallery. Around 27 artists have made canvases and sculptures as a tribute to Husain. These works include portraits of Husain and various incidences from his life.
Where: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road
On till: Today
Timings: 10 am to 8 pm

My memories of the master

I, along with my brothers and sisters, celebrated his birthday last year in Dubai. It was a small gathering, and after that, we travelled to Qatar. He was with us too. Shamshad Husian, MF Husain’s son. He was a dear friend and a great human being. I will forever treasure the portrait he painted of me and the wonderful memories he left with me.
(Shahnaz Husain, Beauty expert)

Once at a gallery, when we were discussing my son’s wedding, Husain Saab got excited and designed the wedding card of
my son. This will always be a great memory.
(DV Chawla, owner, Chawla Art Gallery)

He had a magical personality..
Says artist Sudip Roy, 50, who has done a 4 by 5 feet painting (right) on Husain, which will be up on display at Dhoomimal Art Gallery’s show in October. The artwork, which is charcoal on paper, took Roy six days to complete. Remembering Husain, Roy says, “I remember meeting him in Kolkata in 1986. He had a totally different persona. Even the way he used to sit and walk was so different and elegant.” Husain made a water colour painting for Roy during this meeting. In the same year, Husain inaugurated Roy’s exhibition in Mumbai. “My work is a tribute to him for being an inspiration for many of us,” says Roy.

Maqbool Fida Husain (1915 -2011)
1915 Born on September 17, 1915 in Pandharpur in Maharashtra
1940 A self-taught artist, Husain painted cinema hoardings in in the late 1930s and early 1940s in Mumbai. He even designed toys for a toy factory for some time
1947 Joins the Progressive Artists’ Group. The artists protested against the nationalist traditions of the Bengal School of Art in favour of more avant-garde art
1952 First solo exhibition in Zurich, marks the start of the international viewing of Husain’s work
1952 Awarded the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India
1967 Makes his first film — Through The Eyes Of A Painter, which is shown at the Berlin Film Festival
1970 Paints images depicting Indian Goddesses, a series that was later surrounded by controversy
1971 Invited along with artist Pablo Picasso for the Sao Paulo Biennal
1973 Awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India
1986 Husain is nominated to the Rajya Sabha
1991 He is awarded the highest honour of the Padma Vibhushan
1996 Vichar Mimansa, a Hindi monthly magazine, publishes his earlier paintings of Indian Goddesses. Following this, eight criminal complaints are filed against him.
1998 Husain’s house is attacked by right wing Hindu groups and his art works were vandalised
2000 Makes the Bollywood film Gaja Gamini, starring his ‘muse’ Madhuri Dixit
2004 Delhi High Court dismissed complaints against Husain
2006 In February, a national weekly publishes Husain’s painting Bharatmata in an ad for an exhibition. The painting depicts a nude woman posed across a map of India. Right wing groups protest against the work. Charges are filed against him for “hurting the sentiments of people”. Husain leaves India in a self-imposed exile and moves to Dubai
2007 The Peabody Essex Museum in US shows Husain’s works inspired by the Mahabharata.
2008 Husain’s painting - Battle of Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12 - auctions for $1.6 million, sets a new record at Christies’ South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art Sale
2010 Husain’s works are removed from the India Art Summit. His son, Shamshad, says his exiled father will never return to the country
2011 Husain suffers a heart attack, passes away in London at the age of 95.