MF Husain’s Seeroo Fi Al Ardh: A Boost to Qatar’s Global Art Profile, say Experts
Seeroo fi al ardh – the final work of renowned artist MF Husain – is a ‘destination’ that will help put Qatar on the global art map, according to experts in an award-winning short documentary about his life, work and genius.
The documentary was premiered internationally by Qatar Foundation to mark the 10th anniversary of his death.
Seeroo fi al ardh
Commissioned by Qatar Foundation Chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Seeroo fi al ardh – which opened in December 2019 – is regarded by many as Husain’s crowning masterpiece.
Envisaged by the artist before he passed away in 2011 and designed to tell the story of how innovation steered the progress of civilisation in the Arab region through a multi-dimensional creative experience, it was the most ambitious work of his career – and it has now been brought to reality in a permanent home in Education City.
A decade on from his death, Qatar Foundation and SCALE magazine partnered for a special online event at which a documentary focusing on Husain’s creative universe, developed by Qatar production company The Film House, was given its first public screening, followed by a panel discussion that delved into what makes Husain – and Seeroo fi al ardh – so special.
Poet and art critic Ranjit Hoskote said the appeal of Husain is magnetic and universal. According to Hoskote who moderated the discussion, Husain was one of the few artists who reached out to other arts.
To me, it seems that Seeroo fi al ardh is the manifestation of his desire to create an installation that is open, interactive, and brings people in to experience art in a multi-dimensional way.
Husain, he said, drew his inspiration from the great, continuing human adventure, and his last work continues to speak for him – standing at Qatar Foundation and open to the world, perhaps marking the apex of his creative vision.
Senior Art Specialist and Seeroo fi al ardh project supervisor Layla Ibrahim Bacha, was among the experts who discussed Husain’s influence on art and the world as a whole.
Studying and researching his writings and drawings made me realise how, when he created his work, he was not only fulfilling a creative urge, but aspiring to make a long-term impact on the community around him.
Bacha said that Husain did everything – painting, film, furniture, cinema billboards, as well as write – and with Seeroo fi al ardh he joined all those elements together in one single artwork. He was completing his art journey.
It is a very complex work, but we are very happy that Qatar Foundation was able to complete Seeroo fi al ardh as he would have expected.
Artist, curator and Kochi Biennale Foundation president Bose Krishnamachari described seeing Seeroo fi al ardh come to fruition in the way Husain intended as amazing. He characterised the artist as generous, passionate – and impatient.
A great artist is unpredictable. With Husain, you could never read him or tell what he was going to do next, and that is one of the reasons he sustained.
As well as being timeless, he was also timely. If he was alive today, he would be working with scientists and startups to make something new.
Award-winning director at The Film House and Qatar Foundation alumnus Dimitri Yuri spoke about how he jumped at the chance to bring Husain’s life into a 10-minute documentary. He said that they tried to tell his story in a way that would make him happy – being creative, as he would have wanted us to be.
What fascinated me was that he was an observer of the world and the human experience, and Seeroo fi al ardh highlights this.
Looking at Husain’s work is like watching a performance of life happening in front of us, according to Yuri.
The Seeroo fi al ardh documentary has been selected for the Las Cruces International Film Festival, the Jaipur International Film Festival and the 10th Bangalore Shorts Film Festival. It has won awards at the Crown Wood International Film Festival in India and the Spotlight Doc Awards.
Currently closed to the public due to COVID-19, Seeroo fi al ardh will reopen later in the year. More details will be announced at a later date. To watch the documentary and to find out more about MF Husain’s unique final work, visit qf.org.qa.
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