New York: Husain's Paintings Auctioned Amid Protests

March 21, 2008

Author: Matthew Schneeberger

Source: Rediff

Leading art auction house Christie's on Thursday sold artist MF Husain's paintings, including one for a hammer price of $ 1.4 million.

Outside the Christie's building in New York, up to 30 supporters of the Indian American Intellectual Forum staged a two-hour protest chanting 'Shame, shame, MF Husain' and 'Boycott Christie's!'.

At least 12 of Husain's paintings were auctioned, where the theme was South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art.

The row escalated earlier in the week when activists petitioned Christie's, the world's best known and largest arts business and auction house, not to oversee transactions of any of Husain's work.

Christie's rejected the demand, with spokesperson Sara Fox saying, "Art and culture embraces multiple interpretations and re-interpretations of religious and ethnic symbols that are often highly individual expressions."

Narain Kataria, president of the IAIF, told, "Husain is a Muslim who was born in India, and he knows the significance of what he's done. His hatred for Hindus is obvious in his actions and vulgar art, if you can call it art. It's borderline pornography, not anything a normal person would consider art. By painting vulgar, sexual images of our great goddesses like Durgadevi, Lakshmi, and Saraswati, he deliberately insults Hindus' sentiments. It's as if he's insulted our mothers. Why has he not painted these images of Christ? Of Mary? Why is he running from India? It's obvious he is a criminal and a coward."

See also: Islam, Arts/Media