MF Hussain's art disrespects women: Dr Pravana Prakash
By: Amit Singh
Says artist Dr Pravana Prakash, who wants to send a message to the great master through his exhibition
Controversy in colours: 'Your Turn,' the painting by Dr Pravana Prakash, being exhibited at All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society
Maqbool Fida Hussain has been caught in the buff.
After decades of depicting women in the nude, including Bharatmata and many Hindu goddesses, on his canvas, the controversial master artist has been painted doing a Full Monty by a young amateur artist from Delhi.
Ironically, the artist shows a woman painting the nude master!
The artist, Dr Pravana Prakash, an Institute of Management Technology (IMT) graduate from Ghaziabad, has created a canvas that shows a woman artist painting Hussain, as he stands framed against his trademark works. In the painting, Hussain is depicted standing with a weasel and a palette. And the artist's inspiration for this controversial painting seems to be a group of woman painters who had taken offence at the master's depiction of the fairer sex in uncompromising positions.
"I have no grudge against Hussain. But he depicts women as objects, and that is wrong. His work disrespects women. The idea to paint Hussain in the nude was mooted by a group of women painters. But they were afraid to take on such a famous person. I hope through my paintings the message is conveyed to him," the artist said.
Taking a stand
The exhibition, titled 'Stop That' includes frames that highlight violence against women.
The artist says his paintings reflect his anger against those who disrespect women and justify violence against the fairer sex in the name of tradition. "There has been an increase in attacks on women in the name of moral policing. It is nothing but male chauvinism. The hooligans who attacked the pub in Mangalore in January said they were angered by girls drinking and having fun. But they conveniently chose to ignore boys who were doing the same. Does Western culture corrupt girls alone? This duplicity is the distorted face of modern Indian tradition. And I oppose this," said Dr Prakash.
"We can not afford to remain silent and be a mute spectator to women being mistreated. We have to take a stand against what happened in Mangalore, to author Taslima Nasrin in Kolkata and to nuns in churches, highlighted by Sister Jesme in her book about sexual repression of nuns in Kerala. This series is my way of protesting."
The talk of town
The exhibition, inaugurated on Independence Day, at All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), Connaught Place, is attracting eyeballs. The nude Hussain is in the spotlight. Rakhi Kapoor, a student of Fine Arts from Delhi University, visiting the exhibition, said, "MF Hussain has been known for his controversial paintings. Now he has been painted in the same frame. This should make him stop depicting others in a derogatory manner."
But not everybody is happy with the controversial canvas. Another visitor, a student of National Museum Institute, said, "Everybody has the freedom of expression but this is not the right way. Male nude is hardly attractive."
Interestingly, Dr Prakash's paintings were rejected by many galleries before AIFACS stepped forward. "Most were too scared to take on an artist of Hussain's stature," said Dr Prakash.
The exhibition will end on August 21.
Born and brought up in Patna, Prakash completed his Bachelor of Medicine from Nalanda University. After 9/11 halted his plans to study in the US, he studied Business Management from IMT, Ghaziabad.
This is not the first time Dr Prakash has taken a stand against social evils through his art. He has spoken out against political corruption and xenophobia in the West. "As an artist, I feel responsible about society. Instead of just expressing my creative self, I like to react to issues ailing the human kind," he said.