A group of artists and activists, under the banner of Venkatappa Art Gallery Forum, staged a symbolic whistle protest here in front of the Town Hall on Sunday, condemning the State government’s move to privatise the 42-year-old gallery.
Writer Dr Vijaya, addressing the protesters, said, “Usually artists don’t come to the streets, but today the government has made us angry and dragged us to the street. We all know that you politicians, have spent a lot of money on your elections, but you don’t have to sell art and culture to get it back. Artists have been protesting for a month and you have been just listening to us. We will now up the ante and will destabilise the government.”
Writer Kamala Hampana compared the memorandum of understanding (MoU) to the ‘noose around the artists’ necks’. Architect Meeta Jain said there is a need to not only fight for Venkatappa Art Gallery, but also for public space.
“It is high time that we, as architects, refuse projects whose ownership is of a dubious nature,” she urged.
Theatre personality Keertana Kumar called Venkatappa Art Gallery a part of her heritage. “It is a lie to say that there are no footfalls in Venkatappa. We refuse to hand over the gallery to a private person/ company. We want the government to listen to the artists,” she said.
The forum members threatened to hold a series of protests if the government does not change its decision.