Much to the embarrassment of the government, culture minister takes the side of artists
The state government’s controversial decision to handover the famous Venkatappa Art Gallery in adoption took an interesting turn on Monday with Kannada and culture minister Umashree taking an anti-government stand on it in favour of the artists who are against the move.
Much to the embarrassment of the state government and tourism department that was silently planning to handover the century-old gallery building to private operators, Umashree has urged the government to reconsider its decision.
Besides expressing her dissent, Umashree on behalf of the protesting artists, wrote to tourism minister RV Deshpande that the department must reconsider its decision. The letter, a copy of which is in possession of BM, reads: “The very act of handing over the gallery to Tasveer Foundation, as reported in the media, suggests commercialisation of the art gallery. It would be like doing injustice to Karnataka artists. They may have to shell out huge amounts to avail facilities of the gallery in the future. The demand of the artist community is that the gallery not be handed over to the private operator at any cost.”
The minister also submitted a memorandum to Deshpande on behalf of the artists. “It is the only gallery available for artists at an affordable cost. It is time for us to tell the artist community that our commitment is to safeguard their interests and motivate their art. Hence, I request you on behalf of the Kannada cultural community to reconsider the decision of handing the gallery over to a private body,” Umashree stated in the letter.