This has been the year for losing iconic artists. These things come in threes, and I hope we have done our dash. M.F.Husain, Cy Twombly and now Lucien Freud. Two of these artists I have discussed on this blog, one at length. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire Twombly’s work, just that it didn’t fit…
It is wonderful that an artist like Husain, who has been so vilified by his home country, has found acceptance and a new life for himself. the First Lady of Qatar has commissioned a series on the history of the Arab Civilization, which Husain is working on in conjunction with a series on the history of the Indian civilization- should make for some interesting works that will, no doubt, enrage extremists in India further. such a shame.
Bharatmata (Mother India) by M.F. Husain On Monday, three Supreme Court judges described his painting as a work of art and rejected a petition by complainant Dwaipayan Vekateshacharya Varkedkar seeking Husain’s prosecution for offending Hindus. “It is an art like the sculptures. None get scandalized looking at the sculptures,” The Times of India quoted the…
Shri Parvati by MF Husain ” The allegations made against the painter are baseless and it would not be proper to hold that he had a deliberate intention to manifestly insult Bharat Mata,” Justice Kaul said after reasoning that nudity is part of contemporary art. Husain’s nude paintings of Bharat Mata, as well as those of other Hindu gods and goddesses had created a furore resulting in several threats from right wing groups like VHP and Bajrang Dal, following which he is living in self-imposed exile in Dubai. “A painter at 90 deserves to be at his home – painting on his canvas,” the judge said quashing proceedings in three cases against Husain, and added that “it is most unfortunate that India’s new ‘puritanism’ is being carried out in the name of cultural purity and ignorant people vandalize art.” [From Delhi HC quashes obscenity case against MF Husain-India-The Times of India ] In a brilliant show of justice, the obscenity charges against Maqbool Fida Husain have been formally dropped…. I have covered the travails of MF Husain on this blog numerous times, not only as an example of extreme reactions to nude art but of how we are becoming more reserved and more tightly puritan .
Maya with Pink Elephant by Maqbool Fida Husain The row escalated earlier in the week when activists petitioned Christie’s, the world’s best known and largest arts business and auction house, not to oversee transactions of any of Husain’s work.Christie’s rejected the demand, with spokesperson Sara Fox saying, “Art and culture embraces multiple interpretations and re-interpretations of religious and ethnic symbols that are often highly individual expressions.”Narain Kataria, president of the IAIF, told rediff.com, “Husain is a Muslim who was born in India, and he knows the significance of what he’s done. His hatred for Hindus is obvious in his actions and vulgar art, if you can call it art. It’s borderline pornography, not anything a normal person would consider art. By painting vulgar, sexual images of our great goddesses like Durgadevi, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, he deliberately insults Hindus’ sentiments…. MF Husain’s works frequently depict Hindu deities nude, I can see where that can be a source of contention if he displayed them in particularly sexual or pornographic poses, but most of his images are very peaceful, nudity is almost pure in them.
He has also been accused of committing offenses under section 2 of the prevention of Insults to National Honour Act on account of certain paintings of Hindu Deities and naked Bharatmata.
…We have full faith in American Democracy but at the same time your democratic system will not glorify such a accused person who has no courage and respect to comeback to his motherland and justify his act of creating indecent Art, which can be equated only with that of infamous Denmark cartoonist who is also hiding himself.
…I am delighted that the site that has published this letter and the protest details has also included a list of all of MF Husain’s more ‘offensive’ paintings .
In a letter to Christie’s, the Indian American Intellectual Forum, which has joined hands with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti on the campaign against Husain, said the artist has gained ignominy and notoriety in India by painting several Hindu gods and goddesses in derogatory forms…. Let us suppose for a moment that I understand the position on the Hindu extremists in India who are responsible for the exile of an artist…. Not content with already exiling the artist they now feel a need to try to make him a pariah in other countries – especially one that is well known for it’s laws on freedom of expression, speech and religious freedom.