Jaipur art show disrupted over nude painting
The police managed to resolve the issue amicably and the painting was returned to the artist.
Jaipur: For the second consecutive year, Jaipur Art Summit has been mired in controversy. If last year it was cow vigilantes, this year the moral police disrupted the summit over an alleged indecency after a US-based Indian artist showcased a nude painting.
The women members of Lal Sena flanked by members of Rashtriya Ekta Manch arrived at Ravindra Manch where the summit is being held and Lal Sena leader Hemlata Sharma alleged that a painting of Radha Vinod Sharma was indecent, thus an insult of women.
She also snatched the painting from Mr Sharma’s hands and came out with it alleging that “such indecent depiction of mothers and sisters” should be stop under the garb of art. “Such lewd paintings can’t be described art, she said while asking if the artist would make such painting of her mother and sister.
She said that there should be action against such people and took the painting to the local police station to file a complaint. Thereafter, the organisers and artists participating in the summit also reached the police station to put forth their point of view.
However, the police managed to resolve the issue amicably and the painting was returned to the artist.
Later, artist Radha Vinod Sharma, who belongs to Tripura but is living in the US for nearly two decades, said that the Indian culture runs into his blood and that he respects women. “This painting is of an American model who herself gave permission to me to showcase it,” he said. According to him, one should not object without the knowledge of the art. “If my painting is lewd, what are Khajuraho temples? Shouldn’t they be demolished?”
He said that taking away his painting was a crime, while other artists rued that there was no security at the summit where they have been displaying art work worth lakhs. Founder of Jaipur Art Summit, Shailendra Bhatt, also defended the artist saying there was nothing indecent in the painting, though he said that art work displayed in the summit would be reviewed once again.
LIST OF PREVIOUS INSTANCES
Many such incidents have been reported in the past. Various paintings and art galleries have been attacked by right-wing groups and related fringe elements.
On May 1, 1998, Bajrang Dal activists forced their way into acclaimed artist MF Husainâ€™s south Mumbai home and created mayhem. They were apparently provoked by one of his works exhibited in New Delhi. They interpreted that the painting depicted Sita perched on the tail of a flying Hanuman, both in the nude. Husain had never given a caption to this painting, and the Hindutvavadis gave a free rein to their imagination.
On October 11, 1996, a group of Bajrang Dal activists forced their way into the Herwitz Gallery in Ahmedabad’s Husain-Doshi gufa, a well-known art complex. Armed with tridents and wearing saffron scarves, they intimidated the only guard on duty there and destroyed about 23 tapestry items and 28 paintings, which were on display there. The work destroyed included Husain’s series on Hanuman, a depiction of the Last Supper and the famous Madhuri Dixit series.
It was on January 30, 2004 that the activists of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) ransacked the Garden Gallery of Arts and Textiles inside the premises of the Garden Silk Mills (GSM) in Gujarat’s Surat.
M F HUSAIN AT THE RECEIVING END
In 2006, Husain was accused of painting a ‘Naked Bharat Mata’ (nude Mother India). The painting was put up for auction by Apparao Galleries of Chennai. The title Bharat Mata was given by the auctioneer without referring to Husain. Husain again apologised and withdrew the painting from the charity auction.
On December 27, 2007, Shiv Sena activists attacked an exhibition of paintings by M F Husain in New Delhi, damaging two of his works on display. The activists managed to enter the art gallery at the famous India International Centre, despite a heavy police presence at the venue and prior information of Shiv Sainiks planning to attack the exhibition. The pamphlet released by Mangat Ram Munde, Delhi unit president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Sena, Shiv Sena’s students wing, alleged that Husain had made many obscene paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses. So we would not allow him to exhibit his paintings anywhere in the country”, the pamphlet said.
In Delhi on August 24, 2008, Sri Ram Sene members barged into an art exhibition organised by NGO SAHMAT and destroyed several MF Husain paintings, leaving behind some pamphlets denouncing Husainâ€™s attempts to hurt Hindu pride.
On August 16, 2013, an art gallery exhibiting works by Pakistani artists at Amdavad-ni-Gufa in Ahmedabad was vandalised by alleged VHP activists, who tore all the paintings and ransacked furniture. Amdavad-ni-Gufa is an art gallery established jointly by the late MF Husain and noted architect BV Doshi.
Some local activists on Thursday raised objection over a semi-nude painting displayed at an art summit in Jaipur, calling it obscene and took it to a police station, even as no case has been lodged.