Bhopal, oil on canvas, signed lower right in Devanagri and titled BHOPAL upper left, framed, 120.7 x 237.5cm (47 1/2 x 93 1/2in).
Provenance: Private Collection; acquired directly from the artist.
Published: Siddiqui, Rashda. In Conversation with Husain Paintings. New Delhi, Books Today, 2001. pp 211.
Husain's artistic inspirations were truly made by his surroundings. In 1984, a gas leak in Bhopal caused the death of over 2,000 people. It has been considered one of the worst gas leakages in history. Husain, immediately affected by the news, painted this artwork as a remaindered of the destruction and how it will keep affecting the people of Bhopal to this day.
The subject of the work might be macabre, but that itself makes it a landmark painting. The slight use of bright colours creates a powerful statement for the work as the audience can see the grim reality of the destruction left behind. The work is comparable to Picasso's Guernica, executed in 1937. The passion and rage Picasso felt towards the Spanish Civil War helped him create his masterpiece, the same way Husain created Bhopal.