Shree Shree Ravi Shankar & MF Hussein

Now Shree Shree Ravi Shankar has got into the act condemning Hussein’s paintings of Indian Goddesses in the nude. I did not say naked. There is a difference. Nude implies a point of view of the artist, and having seen the paintings I would definitely say that that the artists, in exploring the Goddesses as nude, was exploring purity. Condemn me for that. I am willing to argue.
The argument that Hussein should now try and paint Muslim Icons in the nude is a silly , provocative, adversarial statement and a completely political point of view. Nothing to do with Art.
So I amazed at the stand that Shree Shree Ravi Shankar has taken. I have never visited his Ashram , but I always imagined that the words “Art of Living” would be more encompassing and compassionate. I would imagine his movement, called Art of Living, embodies a wider and more artistic creative and holistic way of life. What prompted him then, I wonder, to condemn Hussein and challenge him to paint Muslim icons in the nude ?
Christianity has forever painted Christ in the nude and indeed at crucification often naked too. As have the Greeks and their Gods and Goddesses forever. Nudity has been a tradition in Indian and Hindu art, but never in Islamic art. So why the comparison. As if Hussein went out to create a political statement ? No, it was an artists exploration.
Hussein, on the other hand is alive and well. And very Rich. Rich as never before, painting as never before, and at 95 who could ask for more ? especially from someone that started as a street artist painting film posters. Most of us at 95, if not dead, would be happy to not be in a wheel chair and be able to speak coherently. Hussein paints, has become a genius at marketing himself. As all successful artists (and Guru’s) are. There is much to be said for creativity and ageing here.
So lets not feel sorry for M F Hussein. More sorry for ourselves really.

55 Responses to “Shree Shree Ravi Shankar & MF Hussein”

  1. ashish says:

    “Exploring purity” is fine as you do it for your own self. His freedom ends where mine begins. As long as his painting was for his drwing room he can do what he wants.
    I think he was just seeking cheap publicity, way back in the 70’s when he made this to climb the ladder when he would have been a struggling artist. and perpetuates the controversy himself to this day.

  2. Koti Sreekrishna says:

    Ignoring our so called intellectuals
    (Pseudo-secular idiots) and clueless
    rabid Hindutva folks; why waste time
    discussing about this double standard
    artist, who looks like a chick about
    to hatch. Let us flush him out
    of our system, once and for all.

  3. vinay says:

    Mr.Kapur,
    Come on….. There is one question which, MF husain will never even try to ANSWER..!! THE question is…..WHY DOES HE NOT PAINT on ISLAMIC TOPICS……be it the so called MUHAMMED, Allah……
    Now don’t bring in ARTISTIC Freedom….and the difference between NUDE and NAKED…. you are acting STUPID….!!!!!!!!!!
    You are a Experienced HUMAN!!!!…Think logically…….. If you meet MF Husain…Please tell him about painting….NUDE Muhammed…and NUDE arabs……. like you said….He always has ARTISTIC FREEDOM…..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The only thing bad…about MF Husain is that…he paints only Hindu Gods….nude….i dare him to paint Muhammad nude…..Lets see if he has GUTS to do it……..
    If he does that…..i am ready to fight anyone….who is against his NUDE STUFF!!!!!!

  4. Sara says:

    Now that Mr. Hussain has left the tasteless, artless land of the narrow minded hindus to become a citizen of Qatar, the haven of free expression and artistry, he will have the freedom to paint their nations god in the nude (Note, not naked). Or how about artfully expressing the purity of that nations royalty?

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