Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A tribute to Maqbool Fida Husain

The New Delhi-based socio-cultural forum, SAHMAT, paid a touching tribute to the legendary artist, Maqbool Fida Husain, bringing together his fellow painters, compatriots, performers, art protagonists and his ardent. His children shared memories of their artist-father.

The spontaneous anger generated by Safdar Hashmi’s murder in 1989 grew into a resolve to resist the forces threatening the essentially pluralist and democratic spirit of creative expression. Writers, painters, scholars, poets, architects, photographers, designers, cultural activists and media persons formed the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust/ Committee. From its inception SAHMAT has been a platform with a shared perspective.

Here is a tribute paid by SAHMAT to Husain:

“The easily the most iconic artist of modern India, Maqbool Fida Husain passed away in London on 9 June 2011. M. F. Husain was born in 1915 in Pandharpur. Bereft of his mother’s presence since childhood, Husain grew up in the multi-cultural milieu of Indore where his father migrated around 1919.

Indian civilization, in all its diversity, had been Husain’s basic inspirational project. Since the year of Independence, through the Nehruvian decades and thereon, cognizant of all the challenges involved in nation-building, Husain had been steadfast in maintaining a most affirmative relationship with the Indian peoples’ consciousness of their national identity. Through him, we have learned to address a whole gamut of issues pertaining to the interactive dynamic of modernity with the country’s many-layered art and culture.

Husain had made a signal contribution in reworking the aesthetic traditions of India including especially the tradition of iconographic innovation. He is among those few modern artists who had focused on mythological and epic narratives, and, for over half a century, he had painted themes from the epics in literally thousands of paintings and drawings.

This alone speaks of his passion for these narratives and, further, of his understanding that their literary, performing and visual form has changed through the centuries, and therefore carries the mandate for new articulations within the contemporary.

Equally important, these series of Husain paintings have been shown in urban and rural sites through unique modes of public dissemination. And it speaks of the generous comprehension of this project by viewers all over India, viewers who cut across barriers of class and culture, that they have been received with the affectionate regard and playful participation they require.”

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