“They can put me in a jungle, still I can create.”
Maqbool Fida Husain, popularly known as M.F Husain quoted the abovementioned. This prolific artist who expressed the ‘instincts of his soul’ has had controversial columns in newspapers that have also celebrated him as the ‘Picasso of India’.
Born in Maharashtra (September 1915), he discovered his penchant for art through the study of calligraphy. To make up for his travels, he earned money through designing toys and Bollywood film posters.
A founder of Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, M F Husain focused on bringing nationalist art to an international level. His first solo exhibit was in Zurich in 1952. Later, he was also honoured with the prestigious the Padma Shri award in 1966.
Not just a genius on canvas, he was a camera enthusiast too. He directed his first film ‘Through the eyes of a painter’ which was showcased at several international film festivals. M F Husain has been one of the most controversial painters in the Indian history of art. He portrayed obscenity tangled with religion. Having dined with the greatest Pablo Picasso, this art maestro was also honoured with the Padma Vibhushan in 1991.
His self-imposed exile to Doha and London made mastheads thicker. He died (in 2011, aged 95) before returning to India leaving behind a huge gap in the world of art. Especially known for depicting the lively spirit of horses in his paintings, this painter, filmmaker, and photographer shall always be celebrated as one of the best Indian artists ever.
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