Aaina Bhargava on Saffronart introduces the exhibition Maqbool at Dubai’s Sovereign Gallery
London: December 2011, M F Husain dies. Now, in 2013, the Sovereign Gallery in Dubai is celebrating his birth centenary with an exhibition featuring twenty-five rare self-portraits of the iconic artist.
Known for his cubist take on Indian modernism, his horses, and sometimes ‘controversial’ depictions of sensitive subjects such as religious deities, his self portraits were usually kept private from public display, until now. Amongst creating an estimated 60,000 artworks, self-portraits are only a few. Most works belong to private collectors who had to be rigorously convinced by Sovereign Gallery owner Dadiba Pundole to lend for display. In his words,
“It has taken me several years to identify and borrow this exceptional body of work from collectors around the world, and we are glad to mark Husain’ birth centenary with this ode to his extraordinary oeuvres…MAQBOOL showcases the legendary artist’s interpretation of himself – at different ages from six upwards, through a range of mediums, and highlighting various aspects of his life… Husain was an acclaimed portrait painter — albeit not in the classic sense — and his self-portraits are another dimension of this medium…however, it is fitting that we could finally bring it to fruition for his birth centenary. This is a tribute to the man I have known and the artist I have represented for most of my life.”
The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to view the artist’s experience of self-reflection at and of various stages in his life. An artist, who has been instrumental in representing modern art not only to the Indian public, but representing Indian modern art to the world, certainly has a self-perspective worth experiencing. The works are featured in a variety of mediums on canvas and paper and six additional non-portrait works will be displayed as well.
As a precursor to the opening, and as a tribute to Husain’s lasting influence, Mirror Images will display self-portraits by 9 – 11 year students from Dubai International Academy. Maqbool will run from 22nd November to 12th December 2013 at Sovereign Gallery, Dubai, an expansion of Pundole gallery in Mumbai, where the relationship between the Pundole family and M F Husain initially began. Consequently, it is only fitting that Husain is re-introduced to the Middle East in the more intimate manner that Maqbool intends to reflect.
For information regarding the exhibition, please visit Sovereign Gallery.