Remembering MF Husain, A Self-Taught Progressive Modernist Who Won India’s Second Highest Civilian Award

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July 23rd, 2019 / 7:01 PM

Maqbool Fida Husain was born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra in 1915. He came to Bombay in the year 1937. Husain started as an apprentice to Bhide. His painterly journey started with painting cinema hoardings and billboards in Bombay.  Primarily self-taught, Husain achieved fame in the post-independence Indian art scene. He won an award at the annual exhibition of the Bombay Art Society in 1947 and in 1948, he joined artists like FN Souza, SH Raza, and others to form the Progressive Artists’ Group. 

The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata had become subject matter in his paintings in the late 1960s; with some of the paintings being displayed at the Sao Paulo Biennale where Husain was invited along with Pablo Picasso. 

Feature films have been another area of interest for MF Husain along with painting. His first feature film,  ‘Through the eyes of a Painter’ made in the year 1967 won ‘The Golden Bear Award’ at the Berlin Film Festival. In 1955 he was honoured by the Government of India with the prestigious Padma Shri award and later in 1973 and 1991 with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Husain passed away in exile, in London in 2011.

Presently, MF Husain’s famous work ‘Zamin/Zameen’ can be viewed at the India pavilion, Venice Biennale,  the 58th International Art Exhibition; open to the public from May 11- November 24, 2019. Apart from MF Husain, the exhibition includes the artworks of seven other eminent modern and contemporary Indian artists. The India Pavilion will form part of India’s ongoing programme celebrating ‘150 years of Gandhi’. The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is the principle partner for the India  Pavilion, the exhibition at the pavilion titled ‘Out Time for a Future Caring’ is curated by Roobina Karode, Director and chief curator, KNMA.


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