Event Title

Changing Roles of Cultural Identity and Controversial Hindu-Muslim Imagery

Location

CSU 202

Start Date

9-4-2012 4:00 PM

End Date

9-4-2012 5:00 PM

Student's Major

Art

Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Mentor's Name

Alisa Eimen

Mentor's Department

Art

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities

Description

The work of South Asian painter M. F. Husain embodies in many ways the cultural essence of India, but his work has been greatly contested in that society. The paper examines the controversies surrounding the artist and his work by looking primarily at the political and cultural condition of modern day India. There is a violent and ongoing conflict between the Muslim and Hindu populations of India. Husain’s work portrays imagery associated with the Hindu belief system, yet he is a Muslim. This raises a question of who has the right to certain imagery. The Hindu epic the Mahabarata is iconic in Indian culture. Husain’s artwork serves as a case study in this paper because of his portrayal of such iconic imagery as that found in the Mahabarata. As one of the indigenous religions of India, Hinduism is historically integral to Indian national identity. Indian's are exposed to the visual vocabulary of Hinduism on a daily basis. This paper proposes that this religious imagery has now become part of a broader cultural vocabulary that M. F. Husain is a part of simply by being Indian. This discussion is relevant not only in India, but globally as imagery becomes more and more accessible to all peoples of all nationalities and religions. The origins of Hindu imagery may not be associated with M. F. Husain by religious practice, but by the nation and its history, and therefore to the individuals who are raised in that national culture.

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Apr 9th, 4:00 PM Apr 9th, 5:00 PM

Changing Roles of Cultural Identity and Controversial Hindu-Muslim Imagery

CSU 202

The work of South Asian painter M. F. Husain embodies in many ways the cultural essence of India, but his work has been greatly contested in that society. The paper examines the controversies surrounding the artist and his work by looking primarily at the political and cultural condition of modern day India. There is a violent and ongoing conflict between the Muslim and Hindu populations of India. Husain’s work portrays imagery associated with the Hindu belief system, yet he is a Muslim. This raises a question of who has the right to certain imagery. The Hindu epic the Mahabarata is iconic in Indian culture. Husain’s artwork serves as a case study in this paper because of his portrayal of such iconic imagery as that found in the Mahabarata. As one of the indigenous religions of India, Hinduism is historically integral to Indian national identity. Indian's are exposed to the visual vocabulary of Hinduism on a daily basis. This paper proposes that this religious imagery has now become part of a broader cultural vocabulary that M. F. Husain is a part of simply by being Indian. This discussion is relevant not only in India, but globally as imagery becomes more and more accessible to all peoples of all nationalities and religions. The origins of Hindu imagery may not be associated with M. F. Husain by religious practice, but by the nation and its history, and therefore to the individuals who are raised in that national culture.

Recommended Citation

Phillips, Amber. "Changing Roles of Cultural Identity and Controversial Hindu-Muslim Imagery." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 9, 2012.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2012/oral-session-15/3