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Demystifying the artist

Cinema Ghar,a storehouse of master painter M.F. Husain's works, has the artist's serigraphs up for grabs at affordable prices. A dekko.

Photos: P.V. Sivakumar

VERSATILE CANVAS: Semi-abstract, semi-realistic and more.

REAMS HAVE been written about master painter Maqbul Fida Husain — his art, his cinema and especially his lifestyle. But, all of it remains eclipsed until the human is discovered. There is a need to demystify the artist. And the best way to do so would be to take a different perspective of his art. Instead of interpreting meanings in his work, it may work better, perhaps, if we could attempt to read his mind.

Husain's art is not a customised laying out of ideas and elements, but an emotional and intellectual process. The skill of the artist merely helps the human to articulate the emotions that emerge upon contemplation and those eventually rationalise into creativity. In Hyderabad, where art is gradually making its presence felt, Husain is indeed a tall claim. But, certainly there is a way to take an up close look of Husain.

The Cinema Ghar: Husain's Museum of Art and Cinema (Road No. 12, Banjara Hills) is a major medium to familiarise ourselves with this maestro of many parts. The impressive architecture of the Ghar plays hide and seek with passers by who must have wondered several times about the bull-lion cut out on the black mast in the premises. But, the curious and the adventurous sorts must have realised that Cinema Ghar is a storehouse of Husain's old and new works, which take a massive wall space there.

From Mother Theresa to Madonna, the series on religion and, indeed, props of his films — Gajagamani and Meenaxi — vouches the persona of Husain, the artist and the filmmaker. Although, lines of people may walk in like voyeurs, the cafeteria, the library and the print shop are ideal levels for anyone to unravel Husain. Especially, the print section enables one to gather the chronology of Husain's artistic developments.

ETERNAL QUESTION: Who can tell the artist from his art?

It is, in fact, very easy to fall in love with his work — vibrant colours, and the semi-abstract, semi-realistic forms tease the mind to find links of the subject with the artist's personal experiences. Then, of course, the magnified sizes of his works fill up the vision, taking the viewer upon journeys lived and expressed by this creator of splendid dreams. Dreams they appreciate, but unfortunately, for genuine lovers, art is indeed dear. And if not Husain, who could be a better example of it in our country, whose works are bought to the tune of cores. But, Husain is someone who rose to the pinnacle from ordinary matter. In fact, his zeal to paint surpasses all concern for commerce. And today, the unbelievable aspect is his dealers and investors go bullish due to his signature. Nevertheless, for the seekers of Husain, the dazzling serigraphs signed by the master himself are a good option to acquire his art.

The Cinema Ghar, besides projecting the cinematic aspirations of this artist, houses a range of serigraphs that depict various phases of his artistic career. Reasonably priced unlike the surcharging tags of his paintings, the serigraphs here range from Rs. 200 to Rs. 35,000. Pulled by Archors, Ahmedabad, the resolutions are remarkable and the prices are definitely less compared to the sales of these serigraphs happening either in Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, or Delhi. In fact, the freshness of paints and strokes are faithfully transferred onto acid free paper for longevity of the artwork. The Kerala series are the outcome of the tourism promotion Husain did for the State government, some time during the year 2000 are of 40" x 41"scale.

TAKE A LOOK: The many media in Cinema Ghar offer glimpses into the mind of the artist.

With the brilliance of colour and form, one can expect a drama typical of Husain. Horses, a favourite of many, are also available in sizes 40" x 31" and 40" x 26". The series on religion is also a striking subject. The subjects of prints are exhaustive. And here's another medium many may like. For the book collector, books ranging from his recently-released autobiography transliterated by Khalid Mohammed, Where Art Thou, to the Tisco book of Husain's work — painting, drawing, water colour, graphics, sculpture, architecture, photography and tapestry compiles the range of Husain's versatility.

Books, particularly, are the best source to demystify the artist and receive a better understanding about him and his creative progress. Besides serigraphs and books, portfolios, reproductions of posters and postcards are ideal things that might impress the visitors to take away a few. M.F. Husain's Cinema Ghar is conceptualised to be more than a structure where fine art is realised in its essence. With art and cinema as its agenda, the idea is to promote cinema as art but segregating the multitudes of art that make up cinema, such as images, sound, words and performance. Just wait until a gamut of festivals at Cinema Ghar alter the face of art in the city.


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