Competitions, calendar release on Husain`s birth anniversary

New Delhi: MF Husain`s art and life were marked by a rare synthesis of cultures, colours, creative expression and controversies that sent him on an self-imposed exile, his admirers said Friday, a day ahead of his 96th birth anniversary.

The day will be marked by a sketching and painting competition at the MF Husain Gallery, Jamia Millia Islamia, and the release of a calendar.

"The capital remembers India`s most famous contemporary artist with love on his birthday - though he may not be among us anymore," photographer-designer and activist Ram Rahman, a close friend of the artist, told reporters.

Rahman, an office-bearer of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT), is collaborating with the fine arts faculty of Jamia to pay homage to the creative genius on his birth anniversary with the daylong competitions.

"More than 400 students and members of the faculty will be expressing their creative visions about Husain and his significance in Indian contemporary art on paper. We will be providing them with the paper and the students will use their own colour palettes," ZA Zargar, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Jamia Millia Islamia, told reporters.

The artistic interpretations of Husain will be displayed at the gallery after 4 p.m.

"Husain is part of the art history syllabus at the Jamia Millia," Zargar said.

"Members of SAHMAT will carry their collection of coloured paper lanterns and lamps, two motifs from MF Husain`s childhood that kept recurring on his canvas, to deck up the venue at Jamia," Rahman told reporters.

At 4 p.m., SAHMAT will release a MF Husain commemorative calendar for 2012 with six visuals that will include two photographs of the artist - one shot by Rahman and another by his father, noted photographer Habib Rahman in 1956.

Artists like Jatin Das, Anjolie Ela Menon and Jatin Das - along with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia - will speak of their personal experiences with the artist and what Husain means to the younger generation of art students.

Two of his documentaries by Vivan Sundaram and Laurent Bregeat will screened at the tribute.

Born Sep 17, 1915, at Pandharpur in what is now Maharashtra, Husain died a citizen of Doha. He left India in 2006 after his "portrayals" of Indian deities offended the right wing Hindu groups resulting in a legal fracas.


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