New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) Works of art by Indian artistM F Husain, who has been living in exile for the past fiveyears, have been taken off from the ongoing Indian Art Summitfollowing threats from various groups.
Three large canvas paintings by 93-year-old Husainwere removed from display from the Summit which began with anexclusive VIP preview here yesterday and will open for pubicviewing from today.
"We have received several threatening emails and phonecalls from various groups from Mumbai and Pune. We have had alot of protection from the police and have our own securitybut organisers feel that there could be a stampede andincidents of vandalism when the fair opens for the public andso decided to remove the works of Husain," Ashish Anand,Director, Delhi Art Gallery, said.
Saffron groups have in the past protested againstHusain''s alleged blasphemy of Hindu deities
The Gallery had recently relaunched its flagship spacein Delhi with a show "Continuum" and a book launch on theProgressive Artists group.
"The show was extended to the Art Summit and sinceHusain is part of the six artists of the Progressive Artgroup, we had displayed works by all the six artists at ourspace in the Summit too," said a spokesperson of the Delhi ArtGallery.
"We were pleased to see that one of the previewgalleries had shown works of Husain. However, due to severalthreats and security reasons, the works unfortunately cannotcontinue to be on display on the public days of the fair," theorganisers of the India Art Summit said in a statementreleased today.
"We are very disappointed at these developments, butour first priority will always be the safety interests ofart works and people visiting the art fair from around theworld," it said.
The first edition of the India Art Summit in 2008had stirred up a controversy when it did not display works byHusain following threats from right-wing Hindu groups.
The situation was the same in 2009, the second editionof the Summit when organisers expressed their inability tooffer protection to works of the artist deterring exhibitinggalleries.
The Delhi Art Gallery had for the preview yesterdaydisplayed three canvases and a watercolour on Ganesha byHusain. One of the canvas "Krishna" featured a self potrait ofthe artist and his trademark horses.