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MF Husain remembered on first death anniversary

delhi Updated: Jun 09, 2012 16:18 IST
Maqbool Fida Husain

One year after he passed away, legendary artist Maqbool Fida Husain is remembered by friends and well wishers through commemorative programmes.

The celebrated modern Indian artist, Husain who died at the age of 95 on June 9, 2011 had over the years accumulated a wealth of thoughts in a diary using the elaborate technique of calligraphy.

"The diary was found in the personal collection of Hindi author Krishna Baldev Vaid. What better occasion than this to remember the great painter," says Sanjeev Kumar Choube, manager of the Raza Foundation which held a commemorative event here late last evening that included artists Kishen Khanna and S H Raza.

Both Khanna and Raza were contemporaries of the late painter and belonged to the Progressive Artists'
Group in Mumbai of which Husain was an early member.

The personal diary, which the painter titled "Harf va Naksh" contains poetry, unsent letters, some abstract sketches and other jottings in English, Hindi and Urdu.

"I met Husain in 1949 in Bombay. He was a man of few words and hardly spoke English. He would make me recite English poetry but would refrain from doing so himself. He never considered himself a writer and his writings much like his paintings can be interpreted in so many different ways. He leaves the meaning hanging in midair," Khanna told PTI.

Citing his 1956 painting "Between the Spider and the Lamp" Khanna says, "The work which signifies a lurking implication behind it. Husain had the knack to visualise images vividly not just in his paintings but also his writings."

Khanna who lives in the national capital says, "There is not a day that goes by that I don't remember Husain. Our friendship began when he lost the book that I had lent him and as compensation gifted me a painting. I remember I sold one of his paintings for Rs. 250 and opened his first bank account," he adds.

Art critic Prayag Shukla recounted how Husain had given an autograph to his daughter. "My daughter spotted him sitting quietly, eating dinner at a function and she could not contain her enthusiasm. Before I knew it she was pestering him for an autograph. Without the slightest hesitation, he put down his plate and deftly drew a sketch of a horse, delighting her," he says.

The versatile artist had been engaged in printmaking, filmmaking and photography and as a member of the Progressive Artists' Group, he played a pivotal role in shaping the Indian avant-garde movement and making it renowned worldwide.

Shahnaz Husain, entrepreneur and CEO of cosmetic giant Shahnaz Herbals remembers Husain as "a dear friend and a good human being."

"The void he has left in the world of art and in my heart can never be filled. Yet, on his first death anniversary, we must celebrate the world renowned artist, his immeasurable talent, his life and works. We cannot lose the Husain magic in the archives of time," she said in a statement.

"My most prized possession is MF Husain's painting of me. He depicted me as a Mughal Empress and said, 'This is my impression of you...the way I perceive you.' The portrait is very close to my heart and I know I will treasure it eternally," she adds.

Remembering M F Husain on his death anniversary Ajay Seth, Chief Mentor, Copal Art, an art advisory body says, "He revolutionised Indian art scenario globally... He was a such gifted artist... His paintings were highly thematic and usually in series. His Gandhi, Mother (Teresa), Mahabharata, Horses and Gaja Gamini series are some of the liveliest works of art ever produced by a painter..."

"There are only a handful of Indian masters who are well-appreciated and collected enthusiastically across the globe by non-Indian collectors, as well. Husain is one of them," Seth points out.

Husain left India in 2006 and took up Qatari nationality in 2010.