M.F. Husain self-portrait watercolour on paper laid on board. Image Credit: Courtesy: Organiser

Dubai: One of the greatest Dubai-based artists, M.F. Husain, is being honoured with an art exhibition to mark his 100th birthday.

Titled MAQBOOL, the exhibition, which opened on Friday, features a collection of 24 rare self-portratis and will run until December 12 at the Sovereign art gallery.

Husain, who was born in 1913 and died in 2011, was associated with the Indian modernism art movement since the 1940s, and went on to become the most celebrated Indian artist of the 20th century. In 2010, he was awarded Qatari citizenship, and he lived in Dubai for several years before his death.

Husain has an estimated 60,000 paintings to his credit, and he is also a celebrated film director, print maker and photographer.

The self-portraits show various stages of his life — across nine decades — participating in different activities. The exhibition also showcases the vast range of mediums that MF Husain used in his work; pencil sketches, oil paintings on canvas, and several mixed-mediums including the use of Arabic calligraphy.

There are also six other art works by Husain displayed in an adjacent room.

Dadiba Pundole, Sovereign gallery owner and curator, said that “Husain was an acclaimed portrait painter — albeit not in the classic sense — and his self-portraits are another dimension of this medium.”

“This exhibition is something I have been planning for more than two years, and it has taken that long to source, find and borrow some of the featured pieces. However, it is fitting that we could finally bring it to fruition for his birth centenary. This is a tribute to the man I have known and the artist I have represented for most of my life.” Pundole said.

He added that Sovereign gallery is an expansion of India’s Pundole Art Gallery, where both he and his father before him, have been associated with Husain. “We aim to bring the best of modern and contemporary Indian art to audiences in the Middle East, and introduce Middle Eastern artists to Indian audiences.”

Several works featured at MAQBOOL belong to private collectors and have never been exhibited or seen before in public, Pundole explained. “My intention was to display as many as I could, and in as many expressions as possible…This is a rare opportunity for art aficionados — as well as for amateurs — to appreciate the scale, size, and splendour of Husain’s works.”

Sovereign is located at The Palladium in Jumeirah Lakes Towers and is open from 10am-1pm, and from 4pm-7pm every day, except Friday.