Weekly displays by artists to keep VAG buzzing

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By Nitindra Bandyopadhyay

Artists fight the adoption of the gallery by Tasveer Foundation by using its space regularly

On Sunday, artists from the city, in their attempt to rejuvenate the Venkatappa Art Gallery’s (VAG) image and keep it alive, organised a walk from the gallery to the Sculpture Park housed inside Cubbon Park. On display, were creations from a 15-day camp organised by the Kannada and culture department, Karnataka Shilpakala Academy and horticulture department in 2015 that had seen 30 state artists participate. Shivaprasad S, the presiding officer of the camp, started the walk by taking everyone to see the art installations.

The recent protest against the adoption of the VAG by Tasveer Foundation has galvanised a movement among the literati and artists that want to keep gallery abuzz with weekly activities. Surekha, a VAG forum member, said, “We have been accused of not using the gallery space and neglecting it. This is not true. We now plan to carry out an event every week to keep the gallery space buzzing, and to connect with the people better.”

Other VAG forum members and artists, who were present during the event, said the attempt was to bring the gallery back on the aesthetic map of the city, and to keep the government from letting a private body adopt the gallery space, otherwise meant for all artists and their art.

Abhishek Hazra, whose exhibition opened on April 15th on the first floor of the gallery, said, “Generally, there has been a perception that we don’t display our art at the gallery. So, I decided to rent space here to exhibit my work — ‘Support Structures Yearning for an Outside’. The project has a certain connect with the ongoing protest from the fraternity.”

Hazra said this work was a continuation of his earlier work, Index of Debt (2008). “It draws from my ongoing interest in the affective dimensions of academic scholarship. As an artist, I intend to produce more questions through my work,” added Hazra.

VAG was inaugurated in 1975, and completed 41 years of inception on April 13. Patrons said they saw the adoption issue as a passing phase and that efforts were in place to reclaim this art space. Alka Rao, a member of the VAG forum, said Karnataka Kala Mela may soon be organised. “We are taking baby steps towards our goal of saving the place from passing into private hands. More meetings, on the lines of the World Cafe held last week, will be on to decide the activities we carry out here.”