In the end, it was a no show
By: Amit Singh and Shashank Shekhar
Lalit Kala Akademi cancels exhibition of a Delhi-based painter who was to showcase his work depicting Arundhati Roy in the nude|
'What about my right to freedom of expression?' asked Delhi-based painter Pranava Prakash while protesting outside Lalit Kala Akademi against Akademi 's decision to cancel his exhibition that was scheduled to be held there from March 22 to 28. Prakash was to showcase his painting of Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy in nude standing with Osama bin Laden and Chairman Mao along with his other work at the exhibition.
Roadshow: The artist displayed his paintings outside the gallery.
As a mark of protest, he displayed his painting outside the Akademi . "I am living in a free country and every artist has right to showcase his work. If I was already given a date for my exhibition, then it should not have been cancelled. When veteran artists can paint anyone nude, why can't I," asked a disheartened Prakash.
Talking about his painting that he had named "Goddess of Fifteen Minutes of Fame," Prakash said, "Here, three dangerous ideologies have been depicted in the form of artistic nudes. Chairman Mao represents the power of brute force, Bin Laden represents use of religion for violent acts and Arundhati Roy depicts the morally rudderless intellectuals who keep looking for causes right, left and centre to patronise and constantly remain in media glare." On Saturday, a group of painters, sculptors and artists under the banner of Socio Pop artists also held a protest in front of Akademi along with Prakash over the issue.
"By cancelling Pranava Prakash's exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi officials have set a wrong precedent. This is a highly deplorable," said senior artist Somya Bhargav. Socio Pop is a group of artists known for taking a fearless stand on political issues by using idiom of American pop art paintings that was made famous by painter Andy Warhol.
The artists then symbolically burnt a brush, promising not to touch one till Pranava's exhibition is held at Lalit Kala Akademi . The Lalit Kala Akademi however didn't give any reason for cancelling Prakash's exhibition. "He is not exhibiting his paintings this time but we may consider him later," said a senior official from the Akademi .