Fida on HusainAug 10th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Delhiwaalah, Inside Delhi
Art fairs can exclude M. F. Husain, but for Ravi Gossain, the maverick artist is too big to be ignored
Timing is everything. Now, who would know it better than gallery Ragini and artist Ravi Gossain? At a time when the art fraternity and connoisseurs in general are mourning the exclusion of M.F. Husain — one of India’s greatest artists — from the India Art Summit for the second consecutive year, gallery Ragini has decided to have a show on the legendary artist. Self-taught Gossain who otherwise toys with science and nature on his canvases, turns figurative to paint his favourite artist. The show titled “Husain Par Fida” comprising 11 works — out of which six are 16-foot-long panels, will be displayed at the gallery to coincide with the Art Summit.
Husain in ICU, Husain and Henry Moore, Husain in solitude, Husain in a Ferrari — M.F. Husain is present sometimes directly and at times in spirit. “Husain had said in an interview that even I can’t afford a Henry Moore. There was a catch in it. Nobody can do a better stone sculpture of women than Moore and Husain has immense regard for him. I realised that Husain is never going to put himself and Moore in a painting together. Only a third person like me can do it,” says Gossain explaining the canvas in which he has painted the two greats together. While Moore — English artist and sculptor celebrated for abstract monumental bronze sculptures usually suggestive of the female form — is present obliquely, Husain is very much present on the scene.
That Gossain loves Husain is apparent from the way he talks about the maverick artist. Though not allowed to learn art formally, he inherited a love for the discipline and Husain from his father Madan Mohan Gossain, who was a contemporary of Husain, Satish Gujral, and S.L. Parashar. “At 93, he can make a million dollars a day. Every painting he does is pre-sold but look at the mental state of such a man. He had said somewhere, I want people to touch my Ferrari, sit in my Cadillacs. For him these cars are art installations and nothing else. He hasn’t forgotten his past. So, when I saw this image of Husain with his Red Ferrari, I had to paint it,” says Gossain referring to the work.
Gossain has taken a conscious decision to not to paint Husain barefoot or show him clad in kurta pyjama. “I didn’t want to bring his level down. I assume he is going to see my works one day and feel that he couldn’t have painted himself the way I had. In any case, I have known a flamboyant Husain and that’s why I have dressed him up in suits and boots,” relates the artist.
(The show will be on at gallery Ragini from August 20 to 31)