Lightning by M.F. Husain

Front cover image

Edited by Marguerite Charugundla, with contributions by Susan S. Bean, Daniel Herwitz, Tom Keehn, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Gayatri Sinha, & Boon Hui Tan

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9789385360688
Hardcover
Mapin Publishing
Territory: USA & Canada
Size: 9 in x 11 in
Pages: 132
Illustrations: 113 color

RRP $65.00

  • The first volume to offer such a perspective on Lightning, one of Husain's most controversial works
  • Features many essays by renowned scholars of art, in additions to interviews conducted with Husain

Lightning was created in 1975, during a very controversial period in India's history, to be the backdrop of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Emergency speech. Given the short time frame that M.F. Husain had to complete the work, it was titled Lightning, because it came about in a flash. The masterpiece was made up of twelve massive panels with ten wild, white horses charging through an open space.

The significance of the painting is heightened not only by its sheer size or the brilliant rendering of its subject by the artist but also the time it was executed and the ideologies it stands for. The painting included depictions of family planning, farmers and their families, and a builder with an axe in hand. The work portrayed the political climate of the time in India post-separation.

This book was conceived in honor of Husain, and various anecdotal stories and interviews on the painting form a part of this book. The selected authors invited to write on Lightning address the painting as well as its creator from various angles. It is an attempt to create a whole story around this masterpiece; every brush stroke and every inch of the canvas has a story, secretly tucked away in the midst of the powerfully rendered horses, that is left for the beholder to decipher.

Published in association with TamarindArt, New York, and Asia Society Museum, New York.

Contents: Foreword; Journey of Lightning, its Creator and the Progressive Movement; A Personal Commentary; Biography; The Advent of a Masterpiece; The Roar of Crores; East Meets East in Husain's Horses; Like Thunder and Lightning; A Narrative of the Nation; Husain's Journey; Troublesome Entanglements: Art and the Asian Nation; In Conversation with M.F. Husain; The Unveiling of Lightning in New York; M.F. Husain; Selected Exhibitions.

Susan S. Bean was the curator of South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum. Daniel Herwitz was Director of the Institute for the Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, History of Art, Art and Design and Screen Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan. Thomas Keehn was President of World Education, and helped found and was Director of Development Education at InterAction. Gayatri Sinha is an art critic and curator whose primary areas of interest are gender and iconography, media, economics, and social history. Prasannan Parthasarathi is an associate professor at Boston College where he teaches modern South Asian history and the British Empire. Boon Hui Tan is currently Vice-President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director, Asia Society Museum, New York. Marguerite Charugundla is currently a Global Council Member on Asian Arts and Culture, and is co-founder of TamarindArt Gallery, New York. Kent Charugundla is an Indian American entrepreneur, and is also the co-founder of TamarindArt Gallery.