Friday, September 16, 2011

Arty Farty Friday ~ MF Husain, "Indian Picasso"

MF Husain, full name Maqbool Fida Husain, India's best-selling painter, would have been 96 tomorrow, 17 September. He died earlier this year, in London, aged 95. The artist had lived in self-imposed exile since 2006, first in Gulf states Dubai and Quatar, then London. He had been the target of vicious attacks, obscenity charges and lawsuits for many years, arising from some of his paintings, seen by Hindu nationalists and conservative religious groups as blasphemous and depraved. His crime? He had depicted Hindu goddesses naked. The fact that goddesses had been depicted unclothed for centuries before seemed to escape the notice of his critics. Further outrage arose as a result of his unclothed female figuration of the national map – the title : Bharat Mata (Mother India), a title Husain stated was not chosen by him.

In spite of controversy, Husain had received three of India's highest civilian awards in his lifetime, produced over 30,000 paintings, some now sell for up to $2 million. He has been referred to as "The Picasso of India", he painted barefoot using an elongated brush.

MF Husain was born into a working class Muslim family, studied art briefly in evening classes and moved to Bombay in 1935 as a cinema hoarding painter, took further tuition, and within 5 years his work began to be recognised. He joined The Progressive Artists' group in 1947, on his way to becoming one of India's superstars - albeit a controversial one. He considered himself a nomad and a gypsy, continued working until a few weeks before his death at 95.

Sun conjunct Venus, planet of the arts - classic signature of an artist! Here the conjunction is opposed, from Pisces by Jupiter in the sign it traditionally ruled before the discovery of Neptune. Jupiter and Pisces both connect to religion - and in opposition to Husain's Sun/Venus are an excellent representation of the way his artwork came under attack from religious extremists.

Uranus, the rebel planet in sign of its rulership, Aquarius is in harmonious trine to Mercury (mental orientation) in Libra. Here's his rebellious mindset and determination to "keep on doin' it".

Without knowing his time of birth, Moon position can't be determined accurately. It would have been somewhere between late Sagittarius and around 12 Capricorn though, quite possibly in opposition to Pluto, and, along with the Sun/Venus-Jupiter opposition forming a Grand Cross. The Grand Cross in a natal chart can indicate some kind of ongoing conflict, either inwardly or from outside influences. Which would clearly be appropriate in the case of exiled MF Husain.

Some examples of his work. He seemed to enjoy posing with his paintings. What an attractive guy he was too!


Wisewebwoman said...

A man in love with the female form too, lovely intro, T, I hadn't heard of him at all.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~~ Me neither. Interesting story though, of his exile, but his determination to keep on doin' it! Reminded me a bit of Arty Farty Friday subject a couple of weeks ago - Oskar Schlemmer who had his work censored as degenerate - by the Nazi's in his case.