The artist, whose full name was Maqbool Fida Hussain, started out as a poster artist for India’s creative Bollywood film industry. Decades anon, his paintings and even his simple pencil drawings turn into status symbols for India’s wealthy privileged, with his works commanding price tags running into millions of dollars.
Hussain had lived in self-imposed banish Dubai since 2006 after coming under attack from Hindu hard-liners in India for a nude painting of a woman shaped like India’s map, frequently represented as ‘Mother India’ in popular arts, folklore and literature. A nude of Hindu goddess Saraswati also angered the hard-liners.
Hussain spoke of a desire to come back home throughout several interviews in current years. Famous actress Shabana Azmi, a close family friend of the artist said that she was “deeply, deeply saddened,” to hear of Hussain’s death. She also described him as an “iconoclastic painter, a wonderful human being and a very good friend.”