Maqbool Fida Husain, known as M.F. Husain (1915-2011), was one of India’s most eminent artists. Born in Pandharpur, his early years were spent in Indore. Husain began his career as a painter of cinema hoardings after attending art school in Bombay (now Mumbai). Using freehand drawing and vibrant colour, he depicted Indian subject matter in the style of contemporary European art movements, particularly Cubism.
Indian Civilization is an ambitious series of eight triptych paintings, commissioned in 2008 by Mrs Usha Mittal as a tribute to the richness of India’s history. Each panel explores a different theme, together creating a personal vision of India, what Husain called ‘a museum without walls’.
Interweaving religious and symbolic iconography with historic figures and events, the paintings also incorporate memories from the artist’s own life. Originally envisaged as a series of 96 panels, Husain was still working on the paintings at the time of his death in 2011.
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28 May – 27 July 2014