K.K. Hebbar’s family wants a trust to manage Venkatappa gallery

K. V. Aditya Bharadwaj | The Hindu | April 4th

Govt. criticised for not consulting families of artists who donated their artworks before it signed the MoU with Tasveer Foundation

Amid the raging controversy over the adoption of the Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) by a private firm, Tasveer Foundation, the family of noted painter late K.K. Hebbar, who donated most of his works to the State and in whose name a gallery is being run at the VAG, has for the first time sought the establishment of a public trust to manage the VAG, with representatives from the families of Hebbar and late K. Venkatappa.

In an open letter to the State government, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, Hebbar’s daughter Rekha Hebbar, a noted artist herself, has criticised the government for not consulting the families of artists who donated precious artworks, before it signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tasveer Foundation.

“The families of significant donors such as K.K. Hebbar and K. Venkatappa must have a say in the strategy, policy and running of the VAG. Any change in the constitution of the VAG should provide for their membership in the governing body with key influence over the way the museum assets are displayed and put to public cause,” she said in the letter.

Hebbar had donated most of the 66 works that are on display in the VAG in 1993, and retired bureaucrat Chiranjiv Singh had then co-ordinated the efforts on behalf of the government. Mr. Singh said that Hebbar had donated his life’s works to the State and thereby to the people of the State. “It will be like deceiving the purpose for which the artist donated his life’s works if they are handed over to a private firm. In the entire adoption fiasco, culture is being subjugated to tourism, which is unacceptable,” he said.

In her letter, Ms. Hebbar has said that the VAG needs an urgent uplift and public-private partnership (PPP) is a workable solution. She has said that adoption in its present form was unacceptable. She has suggested “formation of a trust that will take care of the interest of the artists, museum, artwork, donors and public. The trustees should comprise artists, donors, government officials and art patrons. The trust has to be funded by the government and private participation as done in museums abroad.”

Treasure trove: Sixty-six works of painter K.K. Hebbar (seen receiving an award from Rajiv Gandhi) are on display at a gallery named after him at the Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bengaluru. — Photos: K. Murali Kumar