MF Husain has handed over a painting of Mother Teresa to Kofi Annan, secretary general of the UN, at a formal ceremony to mark the new office building of the WHO and UN Aids Foundation in Geneva last Monday.
Thrilled as a teenager on being chosen as the only Asian artist to paint for the new UN building, Husain said over the phone from Dubai, “Right now I feel like El Greco who told the Pope, just give me a wall and I will paint all over it.”
The 91-year-old artist will return to Geneva in May to paint a much larger work for the building's lobby.
The Mother Teresa painting, in blue and white, was medium-sized. How large will the new work will be? “As large as the space they give me,” he laughs happily, “It won't be on canvas..it will be directly on the wall space.”
The second painting for the UN building will be in collaboration with Mukesh Ambani. “But of course, both my paintings for the UN have not been for any kind of money,” he says, adding, “There is no question about taking any payment.” Currently in Dubai, the artist in exile, appears to be in high spirits, but before hanging up, he does ask, “So how’s Mumbai? Is it slightly cooler nowadays?”
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