Hussain out of India art summit?

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Hussain out of India art summit?
New Delhi:  The India Art Summit, second edition of the country's very own International art fair, is all set to open in August.

However, attempts to exclude the works of one of India's most famous artists, M F Husain yet again has invited heavy criticism. Many say this has been done over concerns of possible vandalism by right wing groups even after the High Court dismissed 3 cases of obscenity against the artist in May last year.

Says photographer Ram Rehman: "Last year they did the same. How can they give into fear and not include one of the greatest artists of our time and this year. I believe they are doing it again. This is objectionable how will it reflect on the event itself."

Meanwhile, the organisers of the summit have denied any attempts to exclude M F Husain's works. But they do admit that concerns over vandalism have forced them to seek additional security from the Home Ministry -- a request that has still not found any response.

Says Neha Kirpal, associate director, India Art Summit 2009: "We have in no way censored Mr M F Husain's works. But we are also responsible for safety and security. We need additional security and have asked the government for it. If they respond, in fact, we will be delighted and we are making every attempt to make this happen."

M F Husain, often referred to as India's Picasso, is in many ways responsible for placing Indian art on the global map -- a contribution which cannot be forgotten.

Says artist Vivan Sundaram: "His contributions have been immense. In fact he has studied and understood Hindu mythology more than anyone of us."

Now the ball lies in the Home Ministry's court with the hope that the Government recognises its responsibility to protect India's artistic heritage. An important step that will not only allow India's very own International art fair to flourish but will also uphold freedom of expression which is the essence of art itself.

PTI adds: Meanwhile, M F Husain has played down the development, saying it is all part of a 15-year-long struggle.

"My struggle has been going on for the last 15 years, with over 800 cases, only one of them has reached some resolution in the Supreme Court," Husain told Neha Kirpal, Associate Director, India Art Summit (IAS).

"I totally understand the situation at the art summit as this is nothing new, the entire art world has been facing this problem for years now," Husain told Kirpal.

The Supreme Court refused to initiate criminal proceedings against him in September 2008 for allegedly hurting public sentiments through some of his paintings, which were dubbed obscene.

"I am told that in the last four years nobody has done any show of Husain in the country," Kirpal said.


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