Indian artist M.F. Husain dies in London: reports


India’s most famous modern artist M.F. Husain, who left the country in 2006 due to threats from Hindu extremists, died on Thursday in London, media reports in India said citing family members.
Husain, who was aged 95 and known as the “Picasso of India”, died at the Royal Brompton hospital in London, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
Indian television news channels reported he had suffered a heart attack and lung failure.
“India didn’t have the privilege of seeing him in his last moments, that is a huge loss for this country,” Jitish Kallat, one of India’s leading young artists, told NDTV news.
“As an artist several decades younger than him, I feel like a part of the canopy has blown off,” he said. “He evolved the public notion of what it meant to be an artist in this country.”
Maqbool Fida Husain, a Muslim formerly based in Mumbai, was accused by Hindu hardliners of insulting their faith for portraying goddesses in the nude in some of his paintings — a depiction that he said symbolised purity.
Following threats by a radical Hindu group that offered a reward of $11.5 million for his death and thousands of legal cases filed against him for offending “Hindu sentiment,” he moved to Qatar in 2006 and accepted Qatari citizenship in 2010.
In 2008, Husain’s works were attacked by members of the Bajrang Dal, a right-wing Hindu group, at an event in New Delhi — the same year that one of his paintings, influenced by a Hindu epic, fetched $1.6 million, setting a then world record at Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale.


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