Maqbool Fida Husain, one of India’s best-known artists, died after a heart attack at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London at 2:30 am. local time on Thursday, PTI has reported quoting family sources. He was 95.

“Normally I like to work in different places. In 15 years I’ve been around the world. I don’t have a studio anywhere. My style of working is almost like a folk artist,” said the great Indian artist in an interview on NDTV.

Reminiscing his dear friend, painter Jatin Das said, “He was a very dear friend. But sadly people of India didn’t protect him, he had to leave his country. It’s a great loss to Indian art.”

Indian artist Anjolie Ela Menon said, “He was such a unique personality. Controversies will be left behind, people will remember him as the great Indian artist.

Well-known actress Shabana Azmi, a close family friend of the artist, said that she was “deeply, deeply saddened,” to learn of Hussain’s death describing him as an “iconoclastic painter, a wonderful human being and a very good friend.”

Often described as India’s Picasso, Hussain was forced to live in exile after coming under attack from Hindu hard-liners in India for a nude painting of a woman shaped like India’s map, often depicted as “Mother India” in popular arts, folklore and literature. A nude of Hindu goddess Saraswati also angered the hard-liners.

His apologists argue that even ancient scriptures like Khajuraho have nudes. Yes they have. But they have nudes in pure artistic form and never connote or invent sexual relationship that never existed. And, yet he has his apologists in media. Right to expression is still taboo, I suppose.

Hussain spoke of a desire to return home during several interviews in recent years and said he being away doesn’t have anything to do with impending court cases.

Hope he will be allowed to R.I.P in his homeland.

Posted at : 02:20 PM