After Amol Palekar row, govt says will honour NGMA advisory panel suggestions

Amol Palekar,Mumbai,intolerance

The clarification comes three days after Palekar was invited to speak at NGMA, Mumbai, at a retrospective of artist Prabhakar Barve, but was interrupted several times and ultimately cut short when he tried to highlight how the government is likely to control events and exhibitions at NGMA going forward and it could result in censorship on artistic freedom.

Sandhya Gokhale said: "We think that it is important to confront the government regarding the change of rules about holding arts exhibitions at the National Gallery of Modern Art. Don't interrupt him.' That was the sad part of it", he said. "Since separate occasions are not made for necessary discussions, and the need is dire, I respect anyone who takes the ownership of raising the issue", she said. I wanted to raise these issues. The event was organised by Bodhana Arts and Research Foundation. I was invited there as a speaker.

Palekar, in his speech, said, "Recently, Nayantara Sehgal was invited to speak at an event and her invitation was withdrawn at the last minute since her speech was slightly critical of the current situation, we are living in".

He said it was a shock to him, and many other artistes.

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These were the things that Amol Palekar highlighted in his speech and was ultimately asked to stop by the curator of the show, also an ex-committee member, Suhas Bahulikar and the present director of NGMA, Anita Rupavataram.

In his speech, Palekar was also attempting to talk about another decision where all future exhibitions of artworks not from NGMA's own collection will be given only a sixth of the area in the gallery in Mumbai, and that in line with this new policy the retrospectives of artists Mehli Gobai and Sudhir Patwardhan, scheduled for March-April and December this year, will be cancelled. "If I can not speak about these issues at the NGMA during a retrospective where else should I voice it?"

On February 8, Palekar was requested to stick to the topic when after praising the efforts that went into putting together the exhibit of Barwe's works for the first time since his death in 1995, he began to criticise the ministry of culture for reducing the gallery space at NGMA, Mumbai, substantially as well as for allegedly scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery's Mumbai and Bengaluru centres. Director General Adwaita Gadanayak said, "Regarding recent reports in media pertaining to NGMA Mumbai, it is clarified as under-The Advisory Committees of NGMA Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi have not been dissolved". Their terms have ended recently (Mumbai and Bengaluru committee terms ended on November 15, 2018, and of Delhi on January 17, 2019).

With regard to permanent collections, the ministry said the gallery had proposed to display its own collections initially over a two-year period. However, the ministry said some artists have expressed apprehension about the availability of less space for temporary exhibitions and retrospectives.

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