Speech disrupted, Amol Palekar says will question govt NGMA policy change

Angelo Anderson
February 12, 2019

He, however, added that he would have backed out of speaking at Barwe's retrospective had he been briefed in advance about "restrictions" in speech.

The celebrated Marathi filmmaker and actor was repeatedly interrupted while speaking at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai over the weekend.

Although he alleged that censorship came on the directive of the government- he claimed that the exhibit curator Jesal Thacker told him later that she was instructed to ensure that nothing was spoken against the government- he clarified that his views were not targeted at any specific party but were, instead, directed at the establishment as a part of his fight against censorship. He said he would have rejected the invitation if any such message had been conveyed to him. I wanted to raise these issues. I must state here that I spoke at length about Barve and also shared a few anecdotes before turning to the issues pertaining to the management of the NGMA. The event was organised by Bodhana Arts and Research Foundation.

"Many of you may not know that this retrospective will be the last show decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or an agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline", Amol Palekar said referring to news reports.

But since the ministry of culture dissolved the committee and chose to take control over the gallery's activities, Palekar claimed, "Many of you may not know that this retrospective (the exhibition) will be the last show that is decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or an agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline".


"Are we creating the same situation here?" he asked. "If you don't want me to speak, I won't speak".

"I am going to talk about the same".

Adwait Gadnayak, the director general, NGMA, issued a clarification refuting several allegations levelled by Palekar.

A video available on social media showed Palekar criticising the Ministry of Culture for reportedly scrapping the advisory committees at the gallery's Mumbai and Bengaluru centres.

In a statement, the ministry on Sunday said the terms of the Mumbai and Bengaluru committees had ended on November 15 a year ago and that of the Delhi committee on January 17. Their terms have ended recently (Mumbai and Bengaluru committee terms ended on November 15, 2018, and of Delhi on January 17, 2019). The decision of dissolving the committee was taken by the Ministry and he went on to criticse this decision of the dissolution. The recommendations of the previous advisory committee will be honoured and exhibitions of artists will happen as proposed. The ministry said the NGMA proposes to display its own collections initially over a two-year period.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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