Points of Discussion

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  • Culture comes under the Ministry of Kannada and Culture and not under Tourism. Why is the Tourism department treating Culture as a commodity by handing over cultural places to private parties?
  • The Vision Group has collaborated with the Tourism Department to identity and implement the scheme to adopt 46 places in which Venkatappa Art Gallery is included.
  • Mr. Abhishek Poddar (the trustee of Tasveer Foundation) is a primary member of the Vision Group. (See Attachment).‘Adopting’ Venkatappa art Gallery is a clear conflict of interest.

  • Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) came about because a generation of artists fought for it. It is prime property of more than an acre in the heart of the city.
  • Abhishek Poddar is a businessman (Director, SUA Explosives) and a collector of art. He is a dealer in art as well. He has a commercial interest to sell ART, towards which he has recently invested in an ONLINE AUCTION HOUSE TO SELL ART AND DIAMONDS. (See attachment)
  • Details of the second party in the MoU – MAP, a division of the Tasveer Foundation, whose trustee is Abhishek Poddar is not available anywhere, including the MOU. Media says it is a Museum of Art and Photography. Even Tasveer Foundation details are not available on the Internet to date.
  • Abhishek Poddar also owns Tasveer Gallery (premises is diagonally opposite to VAG), which is a commercial gallery that sells art – clear conflict of interest.

  • The MoU says that the Second Party-MAP is using its CSR to adopt Venkatappa Art Gallery. CSR rules exclude activities undertaken in its normal course of business.Conflict of Interest again.

  • VAG is not being ‘adopted’ to just maintain the premises.Mr. Poddar wants to use the VAG to show off his own personal collection in the premises and to have his own activities. Why should a functioning public space be given to a private person to keep his own collection and to have his own programmes and then call it adoption?

  • MAP wants to build a Museum incorporating the present building. Such a construction is not elaborated at all in the MoU, only in the media. (See attachment)
  • Artists of Karnataka will lose all their rights after this – VAG will be completely under MAP which will decide which artist and what artworks to be allowed to be exhibited in Venkatappa Art Gallery premises from now on.
  • Works of K.Venkatappa, KK Hebbar, and Rajaram were bequeathed to the Government and not bought by the Government. These are now being handed over to a private party. The families have not been consulted before the signing of this MoU.
  • Minister of Tourism says that this adoption is for 5 +5+ years and that whatever is invested will be left behind. This is not a condition nor is it stated in the MoU. The adoption can be extended and extended. The amount to be invested is not stated either.
  • There are no clear checks and balances in the MOU– there is nothing stated about who will pay for security, for electricity, water etc.
  • In the Media Mr. Poddar has stated he will have a café and an art shop. These are commercial activities for profit and probably outsourced. These are not stated in the MoU. WHY?
  • Though MAP is stated to be responsible for the funding and maintenance of the Venkatappa Art Gallery, the MoU states that it will not be held responsible for 3rd party claims – meaning the Government will have to take the blame for any damages to work and person in the future. WHY?

  • Government gets nothing from this ‘Adoption’! Whatever money is generated through tickets will not be given to the Government. The money will be reinvested to offset costs! Is this Charity?
  • Artists get nothing either and their freedom and rights are taken away entirely.

  • Though the Tourism Department calls it ‘adoption’ it is nothing but a ‘complete handover’.

  • VAG is not falling down. It needs to remain with the government and be better maintained and programmed in consultation with artists.It cannot be handed over to a businessman under the guise of ‘Adoption’ to further a private ambition.

 

 

 

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