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Hussain's exhibition cancelled in UK

A Hindu forum had alleged that his paintings had outraged community members around the world.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 16:12 IST

Bowing to pressure from the Hindu Forum of Britain, the Asia House has abruptly cancelled the painting exhibition of Indian artist MF Hussain citing "security" grounds.

The forum had alleged that Hussain's paintings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses had outraged community members around the world.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Indian High Commissioner Kamalesh Sharma on May 10 and was to last till August 5.

However, after calls for its withdrawal by the Forum and a threat of a protest demonstration before the venue next Saturday by Hindu Human Rights campaigners, Asia House sent an e-mail saying they have cancelled the exhibition.

Sharply reacting to pressure exerted by the Hindu Forum to force the Asia House to cancel the exhibition, eminent economist Lord Meghnad Desai said on Wednesday night that it was "an outrageous attack on artistic freedom in the British context."

While Hussain's exhibition was cancelled, a painting by the artist, titled 'Blue Girl' and sketched in 1964, fetched 120,000 pounds at Sotheby's auction on Tuesday.

In the same action, an untitled nude oil on canvas by India's Francis Newton Souza went for 310,400 pounds.

Another painting of Souza - Amsterdam Landscape, 1961- went for 624,000 pounds -- the second highest price achieved at auction for a work by the artist.