Bharatmata

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Date: 2006

Region: Asia

Subject: Nudity Religious

Medium: Painting


Bharatmata2.jpg

Artist: M.F. Husain (1915 - 2011)

Confronting Bodies: Government of India

Dates of Action: February, 2006

Location: New Delhi, India

Description of Artwork: Bharatmata, is a vivid painting, with its bright red body of a woman shaped to fit the map of India, has a white charkha in the middle, the Himalayas and the rising sun above and the Indian Ocean below. In one corner is the silhouette of a man in a yogic pose.

The Incident: Husain first received much criticism after the Bharatmata became known to the public. Husain decided to withdraw the painting from the auction where the painting was up for sale and he made a public apology. Despite his apology, a series of cases were brought against him relating to the alleged obscene depiction of Hindu goddesses in his paintings resulted in issuing a non-bailable warrant against him after he failed to respond to summons. There were also reportedly death threats.

Results of Incident: Husain left India stating that "matters are so legally complicated that I have been advised not to return home." He lived abroad in self-exile since 2006. A recent Supreme Court order suspended the arrest warrant for Husain and the Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai, said that Husain was free to come back and would be provided security if he requested it. He did not return to India, but split his time between Qatar (where citizenship was conferred on him) and London.

Source: CNN-IBN, www.ibnlive.com; The Times of India, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com; Wikipedia