The Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain has not been invited to India’s first art fair on the grounds that his work depicts a series of Hindu deities without their clothes on. The lady in the work above is the goddess Durga in sexual union with Tiger, according to a site dedicated to dissing the 93-year-old artist. What makes him even more offensive is that he tends to paint Muslims with all their gear modestly on – next to this shocking portrayal of Durga (who appears to be mounting Tiger) on the site is a painting of the prophet’s daughter Fatima fully clothed (which you can see by visiting the site). Helpfully, the site offers a fairly substantial collection of the offending works, unlike the artist’s official site, which offers reproductions the size of postage stamps. Not content with posting the paintings themselves, the campaign organisers have been busy in a dozen other ways, as you can see from this extract from a letter written to the Kerala government, guilty of having honoured Husain with a prize:
Since the inception of this protest campaign in November 2005, India and various parts of the world are witnessing intense agitations against M. F. Husain. Agitations that include over 1250 formal police complaints, 7 court cases, burning of Husain effigies, citywide strikes, rasta bunds (road blocking), as well as several protest demonstrations in the US and UK. At times, the inaction and passivity of the Indian media and government forced the agitators to lose patience and take a violent turn, as in the case of an attack on the Husain-Doshi art gallery, mob destruction of public property in some cities in India, and public announcements of rewards for maiming or killing M. F. Husain, as well as the closing of the Husain paintings exhibition in Asia House gallery in Oxford Street London after protest demonstrations and a vandal attack.
Nice work, lads. No one can say that maiming and killing aren’t ecumenical.