Artists Seek Clarity on Government Gallery’s MoU

Anshuman U Shastry  | The Indian Express | February 16, 2016

BENGALURU: Artists, curators and writers are not objecting to the transfer of Venkatappa Art Gallery to Tasveer Foundation, said Krisha Shetty, the former chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. They are only seeking more clarity on the future of the gallery.

He is leading the group of artists and art lovers who had raised concerns about the transfer.

“We are not objecting to anything,” he said, “We asked the ministers to give us more information on the MoU, we have no idea what it is and what is included in it. We don’t even know how much we benefit and if we will still have some power over it or it will be completely under Tasveer Foundation after adopting.” The artists’ collective calls themselves the “Venkatappa Art Gallery Forum”

Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG), a Karnataka state government-run museum, was established in 1865 by the Mysore State with the guidance of Surgeon Edward Balfour and supported by the Chief Commissioner of Mysore, LB Bowring. It is one of the oldest museums in India and the second-oldest museum in South India. It is now an archaeological museum and has a rare collection of archaeological and geological artifacts including old jewellery, sculpture, coins and inscriptions.

The gallery also affords city artists an exhibition space that is centrally located and cheaper than private galleries. “It charges Rs 500 a day, when others charge Rs 3,000 and above for sculpture and painting exhibitions,” said Setty. “It is also centrally located.” The gallery is inside the Cubbon Park, near the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum.

Private galleries can deny artists permission for exhibition without reason, he said. “But this being a government-run institution, we can demand an explanation for every rejection.”

The government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tasveer Foundation for adoption of VAG.

As a result artists, curators, art managers, art collectives and art writers had met at 1 ShantiRoad Studio to discuss the decision of the government to sign an MoU.