Husain’s paintings to be back at art summit


New Delhi : Art lovers may get to savour M.F. Husain’s paintings at the India Art Summit here after all. Organisers had removed them from the event following threats, but now the works are likely to be displayed again as police have assured full protection.

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An official from the Delhi Art Gallery, which will be showcasing Husain’s works at the summit, said they are in “the process” of bringing the paintings back. “We are in the process of bringing the paintings back to the exhibition,” the official told IANS.

The art summit is being held Jan 21-23 at Pragati Maidan.

“We are abiding by whatever the organisers are saying. The paintings were removed last evening,” she said.

The decision to bring back Husain’s work was taken after a reassurance from Delhi Police on providing full protection to the exhibition. The summit had received threatening e-mails from Pune and Mumbai against displaying the artist’s work.

The painter has been living in exile for the last five years after threats from Hindu rightwing extremists in India who claim his paintings offend the community’s sentiments. He has been conferred Qatari citizenship.

The organisers had feared that the art summit would be vandalised over Husain’s paintings. “Vandals may come in and there could be a stampede because we have received around 20 odd e-mails from various groups from Bombay and Pune,” the organisers had earlier told the media.

The organisation Sahmat, which has been backing Husain, welcomed the decision.

“The paintings are coming back, the police has assured full protection to the exhibition,” social activist and Sahmat member Ram Rahman told IANS.

“We welcome the stand of Delhi Police that they are assuring protection to the exhibition, and we also appreciate the summit organisers and the gallery for displaying his work,” he said.

Rightwing extremists have previously vandalised painting exhibitions displaying Husain’s works, accusing him of insulting Hindu goddesses through his paintings.