Deep Thought

"A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done"
- Cardinal Newman

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The intertwining of God and Him

A true inspiration for all.
R.I.P Hussain. 

It was my friend's post which brought me to the fact that he is no more. Trust me, social networking sites can be beneficial sometimes. In shock, outraged, antagonized, I start thinking deep down of him. 
He was the man! He was M F Hussain. An out of the world painter, artist indescribable, awarded both Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan as well as Padma Vibhushan. Film director, producer, as well as a poet. Then follows my second thought, how he was thrown out of his own land. Reason: he portrayed some sacred Hindu Goddesses in non-acceptable avatars. Was exile its remedy? He was disrespected as he was a Muslim. What the so-called- religious groups saw was a Muslim outraging Hinduism. Even though, that's their mentality. For a man with so much love in his heart, a man born even before the revolts of independence started in the blood of Indian's, a man with compassion and no impure thoughts in his mind and soul to outcast another religion, it is impossible to hurt the sentiments of anyone. In fact, a painter is considered as having given a god gift, he is the person with most soothing soul, the only field which has always been respected the most since 500 BC. 
Anyway, am not here to justify what was wrong, what was right, for I will hurt his soul more. Am just here to forecast his life, how he lived and what he lived for. A few facts which general people do not know. 

I remembrance very well, I was in seventh standard, where we had a unit of M F Hussain, his life : From where he was, till where he is. He was still in India till then, else the unit would have been dislodged. These are the extracts:

"A self-taught artist, Muqbool Fida Hussain was born in 1915 in Maharashtra. His mother died when he was one and a half years old and his father married again. At an early age he learnt the art of calligraphy and practiced the Kulfic khat with its geometric forms. He also learnt to write poetry while staying with an uncle in a madrasa in Baroda, an art that has stayed with him through his life. His early education was perfunctory but Hussain's love of drawing was evident even at this stage. Whenever he got a chance he would strap his painting gear to his bicycle and drive out to the surrounding countryside of Indore to paint the landscape. In 1937 he reached Mumbai determined to become an artist, with hardly any money and lived in a cheap room. Initially Hussain apprenticed himself to a painter of cinema hoardings which he would paint with great dexterity perched on scaffolding sometimes in the middle of traffic, earning very little to afford his living in Mumbai. But, that didn't stop him from living his dreams. 
Hussain was noticed for the first time in 1947 when he won an award at the annual exhibition of the Bombay Art Society. Subsequently he was invited by Souza to join the Progressive Artist's Group. A great deal of experimentation in the early years led to some remarkable works Re Between The Spider And The Lamp, Zameen and Man. By 1955 he was one of the leading artists in India and had been awarded the Padma Shri. He was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1971. Along with several solo exhibitions he had major retrospectives in Mumbai in 1969, in Calcutta in 1973 and in Delhi in 1978. He has participated in many international shows which include Contemporary Indian Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London 1982; Six Indian Painters, Tate Gallery, London 1985; Modem Indian Painting, Hirschhom Museum, Washington 1986 and Contemporary Indian Art, Grey Art Gallery, New York 1986.
In 1967 he won the Golden Bear at the International Film Festival at Berlin for his documentary Through the Eyes of a Painter and has made several short films since then. Hussain was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973, the Padma Vibhushan in 1989 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. One of the most charismatic artists in India today, he is known for his emphatic understanding of the human situation and his speedy evocation of it in paint. The early evolution of his painterly language was overtaken by adventurous forays into installations and performance art. His experimentations with new forms of art are both unexpected and pioneering.
Hussain has studios in several cities in India but lives mainly in Mumbai."

Called the "Picasso of India" by Forbes Magazine, he was a man completely down to Earth. Even though his paintings would fetch him millions of dollars, his lifestyle was yet the same as before. 
At Dubai, where he had spent his many years of life, he was frequently spotted coming out of local cinema halls after watching latest Bollywood flicks. 

"I remember meeting the grand old man walking out of a cinema theatre. He gleamed like a teenager. I don't remember the movie but it was definitely a Hindi potboiler. That defined the man," said Raghav, a Dubai resident.

Hussain always interacted with common men on the streets, a habit he did not desert here.

"I think his best moment in Dubai came in November 2007 when he booked the entire tickets of a local cinema hall screening Madhuri Dixit's comeback film Aaja Nachle," said Ayesha, a Sharjah resident.

On this occasion, Husain booked 194 seats for the movie as a treat for his special guests from all walks of life. He distributed tickets as invitations on which the veteran painter's autograph and a sketch of Madhuri was
inscribed. The artist was known to be a great fan of the actress, whom he also cast in his film 'Gaja Gamini'. Hussain also held several private exhibitions during his stay here. He came to Dubai to work on the history of Arab civilisation.

True to the man himself, all his mannerisms were unique.

Even his apartment looked like an Arab majlis, a tent like structure where he used fabric instead of his own paintings. A round carpet in his studio was uniquely laid out half on the ground and half up the wall. He had on display paintings that he once sold for Rs 100-150.

Husain's last visit to his hometown was in 1995, when he received the 'Pandhari Bhushan' Puraskar instituted by a local organisation. Tears well up in the eyes of 86-year old Khudabuddin Sharifoddin, cousin of M F Husain, as he remembers his association with the iconic artist, who spent his formative years in this town in Pandharpur, western Maharashtra. 
"He asked me how did his mother, my mother's sister, look like as he had lost her at an early age. He asked me where was the 'kabr' (resting place) of his mother located," he said, talking to reporters at his house at Kalikadevi Chowk, in the vicinity of the famous Vitthal temple, which attracts lakhs of devotees.

Then, to the delight of the nearly 10,000 people who crowded to watch him exhibit his deft strokes, Husain drew a sketch of a beautiful woman, in 10 minutes flat, on a bull!

Not difficult to guess that the drawing was of his muse -- Bollywood's then reigning queen Madhuri Dixit. For days, the locals paraded the bull around the town.
A local painter S Pataskar, recalled Husain's last visit here. "It was as if Pandharpur had come to a standstill.
Around 10,000 people gathered to see the master at work. Husain mingled freely, shook hands with people and spoke in chaste Marathi."

After receiving the award, Husain went to Vithal-Rukmai temple and had a "darshan" of the deity. 

He died in London this year, at the age of 95, where he longed to smell the soil of his country.

One can love MF Hussain or one can hate MF Hussain but one cannot ignore him. Here are a few paintings of him, which eventually are my all time favorites. 
He painted all bare-foot, as he worshiped his work.


Blue head 
Mother Teresa- his inspiration
His favorite animal- Horse 

Indian Mythology

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Is there another name of the painting that is titled "Indian Mythology"? I am trying to find more information about this painting, but I don't have its proper name. If you could help me I would appreciate it!
    Thanks :)