A mega tribute to M.F. Husain planned in capital

New Delhi: Artists, performers, art protagonists and culture volunteers from across the country will converge in the capital July 2 to celebrate the life and times of Maqbool Fida Husain.

Husain, `MF` to his fraternity, revered as an unmatched master by his admirers, passed away June 9 in London at 95.

Hosted by a capital-based socio-cultural forum, SAHMAT (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust), the tribute will be a "send-off to the artist, whom most of his compatriots, fellow painters and thousands of fans in India could not meet before his death in London or attend his funeral", said long-time friend, artist and coordinator of the mega tribute, Ram Rahman of SAHMAT.

Three of Husain`s children - Shamshad Husain, Owais Husain and Raisa Husain - will share their memories of the artist, a doting father. Several senior artists like Anjolie Ela Menon and Ram Kumar will recall their associations with Husain, Rahman said.

"We will honour Husain, the forerunner of public art, whose contribution to public artscape has been immense," Rahman told IANS.

The tribute will begin with an assembly at the 75-year-old Dhoomimal Gallery in Connaught Place (A Block) where Husain had painted several murals in the corridor in 1962, Rahman said.

"The gallery will exhibit Husain`s art work from the collection which the artist painted on his 94th birthday. Our organisation will present a tribute exhibition that the art students of Jamia Millia Islamia had mounted on Husain`s 94th birthday. The students of the arts faculty of the Jamia Millia had interpreted Husain and his art on canvas as part of a special commemorative project. This is the first time we will bring it to the public," Rahman said.

The assembly will march in a procession to the Connaught Place Metro Station and board a train to the Vithalbhai Patel House (V.P. House) on Rafi Marg here, Rahman said.

"They will be attired in T-shirts and scarves with portraits of Husain`s profiles (imprints of the artist`s self portraits), carry traditional Indian lanterns - a recurring motif in Husain`s art - and umbrellas inscribed with prints of Husain art works and poetry," Rahman said.

At 6 p.m., Husain`s 1967 cinematic debut, "Through the Eyes of a Painter", will be screened on the lawns of V.P. House.

"We chose the V.P. House as the venue because there is a very big mural with Nehru`s image on the CSIR building that Husain painted," Rahman said.

The CSIR building is opposite to the V.P. House across the Rafi Marg.

A "shaadi band-baaja" - traditional wedding band - will keep the guests entertained.

"The spirit will be one of celebration; basking in the colours and the quality of life that Husain - the man and the artist- lived with such zest," Rahman said.


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