What a fresh perspective this has brought to the V&A for summer. The room is filled with the work done by M. F. Husain in London itself just before he passed away (1919-2011). The artist had a love and fondness of the V&A and took inspiration from the art around him whilst strolling around the halls in bare feet sketching ideas.
Indian Civilization was commissioned by Mrs Usha Mittal in 2008 as a tribute to the riches of India. The series of eight triptych’s, each depicting a different theme and showing a three perspectives or moments in history. Together they take you on the cultural journey that India really does deliver on. It is clear that he took inspiration from the surrealist, cubist and expressionism art movements and in fact sat perfectly amongst the greats of those groups. The exhibition kicks off with the single panel Ganesha marking the ceremonial beginning of the Indian Civilization, the patron of the arts and letters; is worshiped at the beginning of any endeavor. You get a true sense of the Indian way of life: taking you through the traditional Indian Festivals of Fire, Plant and Water; the Three Dynasties through to when the Queen of England appointed herself the Empress of India; Indian Dance Forms these were one of my favorites as specially the first panel with the flowing movements and instruments around her.
It is his use of colour or lack there of in some panels that really transport you and set the scene. Within the Three Festivals we see the vibrant yellow’s, high lights of red used in the clothing and the blue a source of life. Comparatively there is the Tale of three Cities and here the colouring looks almost military, with olive green, browns and oranges that to me communicate government, order and possible the cultural activism.
You get a true emotion from each and every one of canvases, the vibrancy and life, they communicate quit an aggressiveness; if we had the chance to meet the artist I believe he would have had a hugely intense mind. It is clear to me if I look a the above piece that in the first part the hues are soft and happy and bright pink, lime green, powder blue then moves on to the grey, red, olive green and fierce orange, lastly the almost entirely gold that looks beige in the electronic version. It would seem; as time moves on and progress was made the colours washed away.
I don’t want to show more images as seeing them here is really not going to transport you as I have said it would seeing this huge 12 feet across by 6 feet high depictions of Indian life it a gift given to us by M.F. Husain that needs to be shared. There are three more pieces, but no less important, not mentioned: Language of Stone, Indian Households and Modes of Transport to go enjoy.
A wonderful feast for the eyes, I recommend a trip to the V&A for this and other great works of art.