Making Art Chaste!

The painter M. F. Husain has long been the subject of a controversy regarding his nude depictions of Hindu gods but most particularly Bharat mata in his painting Mother India. However, recently the Dehli High Court has finally declared verdict in favour of the artist, a laudable decision that shall be of momentous significance in the history of art in the subcontinent. The judgement issued by Justice Kishan Kaul quoted Pablo Picasso, an interesting choice since M. F. Husain is referred to as the "Picasso of India". The quote says: “Art is never chaste. It must be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.”

However, what stimulated me to write this post was an article on the M. F. Husain controversy in the Dawn Gallery (May 31, 2008), and despite their support for M. F. Husain it seems that the gallery is trying to do exactly what Picasso had disapproved of: they are trying to make art 'chaste'. The picture of the painting Mother India that Gallery published with the article has been censored to remove the breasts and the genitalia of the nude figure. So much for bold artistic support!

Actual painting

Painting published in Dawn Gallery