Letter from Rekha Hebbar Rao to DOT

 

To,
The Director
Karnataka Tourism Department.
Dear Sir,
I have received the mail inviting me to attend a meeting on 31-03-2016 with Shri R V Deshpande, Hon. Minister for Higher Education & Tourism to discuss the MOU as a member of the VAG Committee . This MOU was signed between Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism, Government of Karnataka and MAP a division of Tasveer Foundation-Trustee Abishek Poddar on July 16,2015.
Here is my reply to the Hon. Minister R V Deshpande. one as a practising artist living and working in Karnataka. Second representing a donor K K Hebbar whose 65 works in VAG along with works of artist Venkatappa forms the biggest asset of VAG today.
  1. VAG is both a museum and a public gallery space. Many art ideas and initiatives have originated here and it has been a platform for artists from all over the state. .One floor of the Gallery is reserved for exhibiting the works of contemporary artists of Karnataka. An auditorium also exists where artists meet regularly and exchange ideas. Preserving this gallery space for the current and future is very important for the artists from Karnataka. This space must not be encroached upon for any commercial purpose. Any PPP should expand this space and add more activities.
  2. To inspire the artists and public a Museum which is a permanent collection of VAG has been built over several decades. This has been possible by Karanataka’s most famous artists donating their works. One floor is reserved for the works of artist Venkatappa, another for KK Hebbar. These two floors which house the VAG’s most precious assets should not be encroached upon for any commercial purpose. If feasible the space must be upgraded and expanded to make it more friendly to visitors
  3. In 1993, Shri Chiranjev Singh, had approached my father K K Hebbar to donate paintings for an exclusive gallery to be set up at VAG for Hebbar. The government had acquired quite a few important paintings and the rest about 50 works were donated by the artist.In 1994, Shri S G Vasudev and Shri N.Marshamachar, visited Hebbar’s studio in Mumbai and collected the works for the permanent display at VAG. This gallery painstakingly built cannot be encroached upon or reduced in size. If anything needs to be done, it has to be done only with the written consent of the families/represantatives of K K Hebbar and Venkatappa
  4. Museum space needs expansion to encourage eminent senior artists from the state donating their best works for future. Private collectors should be encouraged to donate their collection,to build further the museum as an inspiration to future generation and public.
  5. Significant donors like KK Hebbar, Venkatappa must have a say in the strategy, policy and running of the VAG. Any change in the constitution of VAG should provide for their membership of the governing body with key influence over the way the museum assets are displayed and put to public cause.
  6. ADOPTION OF VAG: VAG is a fluid space and must not be clubbed with Kutubh Minar or Halebid. These monuments cannot be tampered with so also VAG. VAG requires better amenities, as a well-developed museum for public, for artists and for tourists.. A public private partnership should mean improvement of infrastructure without commercial ideas and without taking over control of the state assets and artists space.
  7. I suggest a TRUST be formed that will take care of the interest of the artists museum artwork donors and public. The Trust must engage curators and other qualified personnel to carry out the day to day activities of the gallery. The trustees should comprise of artists,donors, government officials and art patrons . The Trust has to be funded by the government and private participation as done in museums abroad. This is the only way we can change the face of VAG and make art more accessible to our people.
  8. We would like the government to spell out in detail the Adoption Plan and how it will work.We cannot accept it in the present form. We can then arrive at a collective decision in the running of VAG in the interest of the artists and public.
Rekha Hebbar Rao
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