by M.F. Husain
UMBAI, India: A painting by a renowned Muslim artist pressured out of India by Hindu extremists is being displayed on billboards across Mumbai as part of the city police department’s anti-terrorism drive.
The painting by M.F. Husain depicts a woman’s body in the shape of the country’s map alongside the Himalayas and peace icons such as Buddha and nonviolence advocate Mohandas Gandhi.
Indian artist, pressured into exile by extremists, paints billboard for anti-terror drive – International Herald Tribune:
This is a story almost out of the bohemian glory days of art. Art with a mission and a purpose, involving an artist exiled for his works.
The concept of the “motherland,” landscapes as nudes and the humanization of a state or country are not unusual concepts, but when the artist is asked to paint “different aspects of the country’s heritage and culture” and depicts it as a nude female there is bound to be some concern, but when one of the artists in question is M.F Husain, India’s most controversial artist, The story is rife with controversy.
M.F Husain is no stranger to controversy, His series of Hindu Gods portrayed nude caused an enormous stir, leading to his exile from India, chased by threats and violence and acts of destruction to his works. The work above, Bahramata, is one of his most contentious pieces with censorship actions from the Government of India. It is not allowed to be publicly displayed for fear of the outrage it will cause.
This latest showing of Husain’s work is somewhat unconventional, a public exhibition aimed at uniting India, promoting peace and anti terrorism in a glorious display of billboards.
“People driving through the city or walking on roads will look up and see this painting. It tells them citizens must not be cowed by terrorist strikes meant to divide people,” Roy told The Associated Press.
Husain is one of 18 Indian artists whose paintings are being featured on billboards across the city.
I Love this idea, It really brings home the concept of the “Motherland” and promotes culture over war, peace and beauty over brutality. Am I naive that I still believe art can change the world? or will these billboards become catalysts for more war, censorship and further degradation of culture in the world?