I will always remain an India-born painter: MF Husain

Last Updated: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 00:19

London: Legendary artist MF Husain, who
was recently granted Qatari citizenship, has said that he will
not snap his links with the country of his birth and will
always remain an Indian-born painter.

"I will always remain an Indian-born painter. There is
no ban on me," Husain, who surrendered his Indian passport in
Doha recently, told The Times.

But whether 94-year-old Husain will return India any
time soon seems unlikely. There is the risk of further court
cases - attended to by his lawyers - and the threat of
violence remains, the paper said.

"The (Indian) Home Secretary called saying they would
provide security. I said, Tell me, (former prime ministers)
Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi - had they lesser security? Both
were assassinated.

"I`m at the stage of my life where I like to work in
peace and full comfort. At this age I can`t just sit in one
room and not go out," he said.

Husain said he is in talks with steel tycoon Lakshmi
Mittal about a new British museum. Last week he received a
lifetime achievement award, presented by John Bercow, the
Commons Speaker, on behalf of a British charity, Next Step
Foundation.

Keith Vaz, MP, the patron of the charity said:
"clearly he is an iconic figure in the history of art. He is
the greatest living Indian artist. This is not about politics
or religion, this award is about art."

Husain said: "I have done so many things over the
years, poetry, films, painting. I hoped that one of them might
click... Then came this uproar, which has lasted ten years. I
told my friend, there was a doubt whether I`d go down in
history for only paintings, but this has secured a permanent
seat."

That uproar concerns works by Husain, considered by
many as India`s Picasso, in which Hindu goddesses are depicted
in objectionable condition.

After a career spanning six decades, Husain suddenly
became the focus of anger in 1996 when a magazine article
titled M F Husain: A Painter or Butcher denounced him for
obscenity.

Since then, Husain has faced concerted harassment from
people who reject his claims that he meant no offence. His
exhibitions were attacked, he received death threats and about
900 legal challenges.

Despite the Indian Supreme Court dismissing the
charges, he has lived abroad since 2006, mainly in Dubai and
London.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 00:19

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