Alongside hosting the first NFT auction (Gobardhan Ash Avatars) in India, we are also proud to announce the first-ever NFT of the iconic M.F. Husain artwork “Lightning”, an initiative by art collector and entrepreneur Kent Charugundla. This move is bound to transform art markets worldwide. The name of this initiative "LightningNFT" is inspired by Husain's historic 60-foot-long mural titled 'Lightning" made in 1975 as a backdrop to an important speech given by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The only time I have seen M. F. Husain in person was at his exhibition in honour of singer M. S. Subbulakshmi at a gallery in Chennai (Madras) in 2004. Wearing no footwear, except for thick black socks, and wielding a massive paintbrush in one hand, Husain was surrounded by a group of Chennai’s socialites. I was patiently waiting behind them to meet Husain when he suddenly popped out and said, “Hello”. I was giddy with excitement and asked him to autograph the invitation card I had in my hand. He did so and quickly moved on to greet the next visitor. Husain was as excited to meet unknown gallery visitors as they were to meet him—the energy was amazing for a man who, at that time, was 91 years old. A year or so later, Husain left India, never to return.
I had the good fortune of spending a larger part of my life in close association with M. F. Husain. Or Uncle H, as I called him. He was more than just a friend of the family. He was part of the family. We all lived, painted, and went on vacations together. There were always the choicest of paints and canvases in the house while growing up, for which I am always thankful to him. I got to paint alongside him right from when I was 6 years old. As a child, he must have seen a unique creative spark in me. Or so he said to me in a note, written inside a book he sent me just a month before he passed away.
Stated below is the text of the second catalogue of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in collaboration with the Calcutta Group. Gobardhan Ash's works were exhibited in the joint show of the Calcutta Group and Progressive Artists’ Group alongside masters such as K.H. Ara, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H. Raza, H.A. Gade, and S.K. Bakre at Calcutta in 1950. This document is indeed a historically prominent yet lesser-known artistic discovery in the world of modern Indian art.
Bombay, May 2010 - "I was exposed to paintings from a very young age. My father was a self-taught artist who sometimes painted in oils by studying the old European masters and sometimes following his own inspiration. In his studio, he had many books on paintings of European masters like Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Turner, Gainsboro, Constable, and others. I enjoyed looking at these books just as I enjoyed washing my father's brushes and pallet.
Traversing the world of art can be a game of clue hunt. Sometimes, even if there is a lot documented about a group of artists and their works, one tends to find a thread that can become an enticing exploration in itself. A lot has been written about the Progressive Artists' Group, which was formed in India in the year 1947.
Bhulabhai Desai Memorial Institute (BDMI) was a center for innumerable artists of diverse fields and practices. An institute with the same structure and bohemian style has never been established again, giving rise to various experiments, collaborations, and discussions. The impact of the atmosphere created at the BDMI has touched the practice of artists visiting the space for various reasons.
Post-Independence India was a new revolution in India’s history. As the struggle for freedom was finally achieved, new mindsets were formed. The new free India respected and worshiped humanity at its best along with promoting freedom of expression. At this point, a group of supreme artists came together who shared a common art type: modern art for the new free India and called themselves the Bombay Progressives Art Group!
Maqbool Fida Husain was born in 1913 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. In 1948, he was invited by F N Souza to join the Progressive Artists' Group in Mumbai. When he took up painting as an art form, he blended folk, tribal, and mythological art to create vibrantly contemporary, living art forms.
Maqbool Fida Husain was born in 1913 in Pandharpur, Maharashtra. In 1948, he was invited by F N Souza to join the Progressive Artists' Group in Mumbai. Husain began his career by painting billboards for feature films and making furniture designs and toys to earn a living.