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Government mourns Husain's death, says it's a national loss

Thursday June 09, 2011 06:17:12 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The Indian government Thursday mourned the death of celebrated painter Maqbool Fida Husain in London, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh terming his demise a "national loss."

Although the government accepted that Husain, 95, was upset with the government, they said he never stopped loving his homeland - India.

Calling him a "world renowned artist", President Pratibha Patil said that his "extraordinary style made him a celebrity in his own right in the arena of contemporary painting".

"A man of multi-dimensional talent, his death would create a deep void in the world of art and creativity," she said.

Husain, the Indian who rose from painting cinema hoardings to become one of the world's most celebrated artists, died in a London hospital early Thursday, family sources said.

"It's a national loss," the prime minister said after hearing about Husain's death.

"In the passing away of Shri M.F. Hussain, the nation has lost an iconic artist and the art world one of its most colourful personalities, whose genius left a deep imprint on Indian art," the prime minister said in a statement.

"It is with deep sadness that I learnt of the passing away of one of India's greatest artistic talents, Shri M.F. Hussain. Shri Hussain was one of the brightest stars in the Indian art firmament, which he dominated for nearly seventy years," he added.

Husain was living away from India in self-imposed exile after being targeted by Hindu radicals.

Vice President Hamid Ansari called him a "legend of art of our times".

"He will always be remembered for his love of India that was reflected in his paintings. In an illustrious life of over nine decades dedicated to his artistic pursuits, Husain saheb captured the public imagination with his portrayal of important personalities and events," he said.

Condoling his death, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that it is "true that he was upset with the government on some issues and efforts were made by the government and NGOs to address those issues".

"As far as his citizenship is concerned, he gave solid reasons for shifting from India but he never stopped loving the country," Soni told reporters.

He was invited to India on many occasions, she added.

Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said that she was sure that Husain "till his last breath...lived and breathed for India."

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described him as a "painter who promoted modern art in India".




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