Hindu groups protest Husain paintings’ auction in US

March 18th, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by admin  

New York, March 17 (IANS) Hindu activist groups in the US have threatened to hold a demonstration at Christie’s here unless the art gallery stops an auction this week of paintings by celebrated Indian painter M.F. Husain, who they say has hurt Hindus the world over for portraying their gods in “derogatory” forms. In a letter to Christie’s, the Indian American Intellectual Forum, which has joined hands with Hindu Janjagruti Samiti on the campaign against Husain, said the artist has gained ignominy and notoriety in India by painting several Hindu gods and goddesses in derogatory forms.

As part of Christie’s New York auction March 20 of modern and contemporary art from South Asia, Husain’s paintings are expected to fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of them, “The Battle of Ganga and Yamuna” is estimated to rake in $600,000-$800,000.

The forum president, Narain Kataria, has also sent a power point presentation to Christie’s, highlighting “Husain’s deliberate distortion and degradation of Hindu culture”.

“Seven cases have been registered against him and six courts have issued arrest warrants against him. More than 28,000 people have signed a petition condemning Husain for his malicious attempts to vilify Hindus,” Kataria claimed.

He added that Husain stood “condemned by the Indian Parliament for painting Mother India in the nude”.

It was thus unbecoming, Kataria told Christie’s, on the part of the reputed art gallery to associate with Husain.

If the gallery does not refrain from exhibiting and auctioning Husain’s works, they would hold a peaceful protest outside the Christie’s building, Kataria said.

Christie’s, however, is expected to go ahead with its schedule of auction, including Husain’s work.

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