MF Husain

MF HUSAIN

The name Maqbool Fida Husain has become almost synonymous with contemporary Indian art. His endless quest for his cultural roots and a fearlessly open-minded willingness to absorb diverse influences has made M. F. Husain one of the most recognisable figures of contemporary Indian art. Husain began his career by painting billboards for feature films and making furniture designs and toys, to earn a living. When he did take up painting as an art form, however, he returned time and again to his roots, and to themes that blended folk, tribal and mythological art to create vibrantly contemporary, living art forms. His rise as a public figure has as much to do with his style and presentation, as it does with his themes. He depicts the icons of Indian culture, through the ages, seeking to capture the quintessence of his subjects, like Mother Teresa, Krishna and the goddess Saraswati. A self-taught artist, he came to Mumbai in 1937, determined to become a painter. In 1948, he was invited by F.N. Souza to join the Progressive Artist’s Group, a group formed to explore a new idiom for Indian art. Besides painting, he has also made feature films, such as Through the Eyes of a Painter, in 1967, which was a Golden Bear Award winner at the Berlin Film Festival, and Gajagamini in 2000. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan awards, both prestigious civilian awards.