New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) Close friends, fans and fellow artists will remember Maqbool Fida Husain, one of India's greatest contemporary artists, on his first death anniversary June 9 with a commemorative programme, 'Remembering Husain', at the India International Centre (IIC) in the capital.
The artist died in exile in London. He was 96.
The tribute will bring to light another lesser known art of Husain - calligraphy - that he had mastered. While painting mythological compositions from the epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata at the home of art connoisseur Badrivishal Pitti in Hyderabad, he penned his thoughts and all that he felt in an elaborate painted calligraphic diary which he named, 'Harf va Naksh'.
'It was published by Pitti in Hyderabad. Times were different and it was not meant for mass production. Somehow, we rediscovered it. It is an important discovery because it is another aspect of Husain,' artist Manish Pushkale, who spotted the book in writer Krishna Baldev Vaid's collection, told IANS.
Vaid owned the book for 40 years.
Artist Krishen Khanna, who was a member of the Progressive Artists' Group in Mumbai that Husain was associated with briefly - will read excerpts from the book in English, Vaid in Urdu and art critic Prayag Shukla in Hindi at the memorial service.
The service will be hosted by the Raza Foundation, a non-profit arts and culture promotion body, set up by the oldest of the surviving progressive artists, S.H. Raza.
Historians say Husain learnt the art of calligraphy early in life and practised the 'Kulfic Khat', a form of stylised calligraphy with its geometric form. He learnt to write poetry in a madrassa in Baroda, where he stayed with his uncle. Poetry stayed with him all through his life.
The book contains jottings in English, Urdu and Hindi calligraphy and drawings.
The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT), a progressive cultural organisation in the capital which was working with the artist to preserve his legacy, is planning a 'mount a street van exhibition of reproductions of Husain's work, along with the lanterns and umbrellas - Husian's aesthetic icons', said Ram Rahman, a senior functionary of the organisation.
'SAHMAT had made several lanterns and umbrellas last year as Husain souvenirs. The mobile exhibition would be like a bioscope complete with Husain's films, but on a large scale,' Rahman told IANS.
The Tao Art Gallery in Mumbai will open a tribute exhibition, 'Imagining A Legend', June 9 exhibiting photographs of Husain shot by leading lensmen of his time.
The exhibition has been curated by Nitayee Shinde and Fazwan Husain.
'It feels pretty much the same as it felt a year ago. There is a sense of regret that he had to live outside the country, died outside and was buried outside India,' Rahman said remembering his old friend at whose home Rahman was a frequent visitor.
Husain's family will also remember the 'patriarch' with a private memorial ceremony.