Artists to step up protest against adoption of Venkatappa Gallery


Artists to step up protest against adoption of Venkatappa Gallery

By: Nitinindra Bandopadhyay

The fight to stop Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) from being adopted is gaining momentum as other cultural figures from the state are stepping in. The government’s decision not to reconsider the MoU signed for the takeover of VAG by Tasveer Foundation is not sinking in with the artists.Artists from across the state are now planning to join the protest and they will hold one at VAG on March 19. To top this, they will carry out their biggest protest in front of the Town Hall on March 20, for which already more than 560 artists have pledged their participation.

Artist Surekha, who is a prominent figure in the Save VAG campaign, said, “Now the fight is not confined to artists of the city. It is going to be really big and support for us is pouring in from every nook and corner of the country. Besides artists, prominent cultural figures in the state are also pledging their solidarity with us.”

Abhishek Poddar of Tasveer Foundation, on March 14, sought to clear the air around the adoption of the gallery through a statement, in which he claimed that the project is not against the artists, but that they are the ones who will be benefitted.

His statement came days after minister for tourism, Karnataka RV Deshpande on March 9 ruled out the possibility of rethinking this project being executed through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, while assuring that the concerns of the artists will be taken into consideration.

However, members of the VAG forum believe that this is eyewash and the government, in the garb of adoption, is quietly trying to grab the property located at a prime location.

Members of the VAG forum have now decided to redouble their efforts against the adoption and as a part of these they have organised a discussion on the matter before the alternative law forum on March 18, where the other acquisitions made by the government’s vision group will also be discussed.

Veteran artist Balan Nambiar said, “I don’t know who the government is trying to fool. This venture is a platform being raised for minting money. I agree that Abhishek Poddar is a patron of art and an efficient businessman, but at the same time, he is a shrewd profit maker who has stepped in to develop it as a business venture.”


MARCH 6: Artists protest against the adoption of VAG by Tasveer Foundation
MARCH 9: RV Deshpande makes first public comment, says won’t rethink on the PPP venture
MARCH 14: Abhishek Poddar releases blueprints of future design on his Facebook page, issues clarification on the adoption
MARCH16:VAG Forum decides to step up their protest, more than 560 artists pledge participation.