x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

MF Husain tribute at Art Dubai

Next month's art fair will pay tribute to the late MF Husain, who was known as the 'Picasso of India'.

The sixth edition of Art Dubai will take place from March 21 to 24 at the Madinat Jumeirah.
The sixth edition of Art Dubai will take place from March 21 to 24 at the Madinat Jumeirah.

DUBAI // An art fair next month will pay tribute to MF Husain, the legendary Indian artist who died last year in London.

A British gallery will showcase his paintings and photo prints at Art Dubai, and will screen documentaries about him too. Some of Husain's paintings are expected to fetch more than Dh1million.

"We will be having a tribute to MF Husain in Dubai during the Art Dubai 2012 to honour the passing of the great artist in one of his hometowns," said Conor Macklin, director of the Grosvenor Vadehra Art Gallery in London.

"He is greatly missed in Dubai ... He lived his life to the fullest. This is the first time he is absent from the fair. We thought it is a fitting thing to do because he's highly regarded in the region."

Husain died last June at age 97 after a heart attack at the Royal Brompton Hospital. He had been living in self-imposed exile in Dubai for several years before his death.

The sixth edition of Art Dubai will take place from March 21 to 24 at the Madinat Jumeirah.

The Grosvenor Vadehra gallery will screen an 18-minute short movie, Through the Eyes of a Painter, the first film directed and scripted by Husain, who also dabbled in filmmaking. The 1967 documentary was set in the Indian state of Rajasthan and won a Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival.

The Grosvenor Vadehra's booth will display about 12 water colour and oil paintings - including his signature horses - made in the 1960s. Starting prices for the paintings will be $80,000.

"His work has been shown at the fair every year since 2007," said Antonia Carver, Art Dubai's director. "In fact, he attended several years in a row ... It's an honour to include a tribute to MF Husain at Art Dubai, given his stature within the international art world at large. This was the first time an entire booth has been dedicated to his practice."

The artist's youngest son said he was touched by the planned commemoration.

"I am truly overwhelmed as a son and painter," said Owais Husain, who lives in Dubai. "A lot of people are doing tributes all over the place. He was all over. Everybody wants to celebrate their opportunity of sharing space with him.

"I am overwhelmed by this generosity, flourishing through these kind of events," said the younger Husain, who is also a painter and filmmaker.

Owais Husain hopes to release his own documentary, Letters to My Son about My Father, next year. Filmed over three years, it traces his father's life in Dubai, London and Qatar.

"It is a culmination of my lifelong experience with him. There were a lot of things he wanted to say through me ... it addresses posterity," Owais said from India.

pkannan@thenational.ae