I still remember the day when Anwar Husain met me as a young shy artist from a small town in Western Maharashtra trying to find his feet. He came over through a reference and his humility was noticeable. When I saw the samples of the work he presented, I had no hesitation in telling him then and there that I would be happy to work with him.
Indiaart started showing Anwar's paintings through various shows as well as through its website. The response was very positive with huge appreciation and regular sales. It has been more than 10 years and we continue to work together and it has been a pleasure to work with an artist that Anwar is. His humility remains unchanged, the sincerity, the dedication and commitment to create good quality work may have actually gone up. From a young shy lad ten years back, Anwar is now a proud father and a true family man.
We continue to meet once or twice every month, each session lasting several hours with multiple cups of chai. I have always looked forward to these sessions which involve discussing his current work, new ideas and new projects. In an era where most artists seem to believe that paintings are created for sale and therefore considerations of sale would guide what gets created; Anwar stands out because he is willing to undertake a project or work on an idea if it appeals to him. Our regular discussions over the years thus produced several series of paintings - a series on Indian classical musicians where each painting created the mood of the concert of that particular maestro, a series titled "Nostalgia" which presented old havelis (grand buildings) and the culture of a bygone era, a series on school going children, a series of cityscapes in which Anwar painted the life, hustle bustle and vibrancy of cities which went far beyond the typical landscape approach depicting city structures and crowded skyscrapers, an interesting series titled "Almiras" in which he painted almiras from which memories would tumble out when opened. And yes, Anwar did paint several Ganeshas, temples and mosques but here again the focus was on creating the mood rather than highlighting the form and this is where Anwar stands out from the crowd.
Anwar did a small series on Goa and another series on Mumbai which is ongoing.
The reason I have been an admirer of Anwar's work is due to the subtleness of his work, the approach is soft and not loud and many a paintings are endearing to the viewer and the collector. I guess this is much like the personality of the artist himself. Anwar is one of the very few artists I have known whose approach to life, humility and uncomplicated nature has not changed despite his success and acceptance in the art world as an important contemporary artist.
I would like to highlight another vital aspect of Anwar's approach to art and life. And this may just be one of his greatest strengths. Over the last 10 years, he has shown the courage to commit to a series, work on it and stop after he believes that he has nothing more to paint on that particular subject. We then start discussing the new series. This is not common in a country where you find most artists who continue to churn painting after painting on the same subject and theme as if they are brain dead.
I continue to share a warm relationship with Anwar after so many years. He is the same humble and simple fellow I met more than 10 years back. I have continued to collect his paintings over the years and they are much appreciated by visitors at office and home.