M. F. Husain created Lightning in 1975 to serve as the backdrop for then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party public rally in Bombay (Mumbai). This was the same year that a state of emergency was imposed across India. Husain titled the resulting mural-sized painting Lightning in reference to the short time frame that he had to complete it. The work’s twelve massive panels feature wild, white horses charging through a space filled with visual references to India and the 1970s that capture the political climate of the new nation.
This book was conceived in honor of Husain and explores the artist and Lightning through anecdotal stories, critical writing, and interviews that attempt to create a whole story around this masterpiece, whose every brushstroke and inch of the canvas has a story that is left for the viewer to decipher.
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.
Edited by Marguerite Charugundla, with contributions by Susan S. Bean, Daniel Herwitz, Tom Keehn, Prasannan Parthasarathi, Gayatri Sinha, & Boon Hui Tan.
Published in association with TamarindArt, New York, and Asia Society Museum, New York. (Mapin, 2019, HC, 132 pp, 113 color illustrations, 9 x 11 in)
More on the exhibition, M.F. Husain: Art and the Nation, on view now at Asia Society, NY through August 4, 2019.