We enjoy freedom to express ourselves. This blog and many others are a testimony. But it has not and in some places is still not a matter of fact.
I came across a new Emmy nominated documentary, The Desert of Forbidden Art. It’s about the Nukus Museum of Art or, in full, The State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan (an autonomous area within Uzbekistan), which opened in 1966. Igor Savitsky (1915-84), a Russian born in Kiev, risking denunciation as an “enemy of the people”, sought out and assembled over 40,000 Russian avant-garde and post avant-garde pieces of art and housed them in the Nukus Museum. A trailer can be watched here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGX7kKrutpY.
Art and culture or just simple acts of humanity are often sources of inspiration that can sustain us in the darkest of circumstances. I remember my grandmother’s story of her father saving centuries old paintings from a temple about to be demolished by infidels. I now own one of those paining as a reminder of sacrifice and devotion to the true self.
about photo: the movie poster for Desert of Forbidden Art which was written, produced, and directed by Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev. Photo Credit: © Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev, from http://www.soros.org
I’m not into icons and idols. Yet there are human beings and human deeds that make me want to jump higher, fight harder and live to the fullest.
India (or part of it) is appalled by Sherlyn Chopra – the first Indian to model nude for Playboy magazine. But this is not what drew my attention. It was her words „if total freedom comes with the perceived notion of being a whore, then so be it”.
This is how probably many perceived the Hindu goddess depicted in the nude in one of his paintings by Maqbool Fida Husain, India’s most iconic and prolific artist.
I find him truly iconic as in:
– Hard working: mastered Arabic calligraphy as a small boy and painted right up until two weeks before his death in London at the age of 95.
– Convention defying: a nude Hindu goddess for one thing.
– Bitterness-free: In spite of being dejected by his co-nationals he never showed any resentment towards his homeland. “What has happened with me is a small thing. We remain a free country,” he told an interviewer in 2010.
– World-beautifying: Left an enduring legacy, while embracing all forms of beauty and colour around him and keeping at heart his essence – India’s streets and culture. Whereever he painted in New York, Paris or Qatar, he remained an Indian artist (inspired by Sudha G Tilak is a Delhi-based writer on art and culture, http://www.bbc.co.uk)
Whether or not he and his work were regarded as a powerful symbol of India or the World was none of his concern. He just lived his life to the brim.