Speech dis­rupted, Palekar says will ques­tion govt NGMA pol­icy change

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - NEWS NET­WORK


Pune: Vet­eran film­maker Amol Palekar on Sun­day said he would find out, if needed, the “ar­bi­trari­ness” be­hind the pol­icy changes in con­duct­ing ex­hi­bi­tions at the Na­tional Gallery of Mod­ern Art (NGMA) in Mum­bai.

“I will cer­tainly look for an­swers to the changed process on whose work should be ex­hib­ited at the gallery. I will con­front the gov­ern­ment on the changes,” he said.

Palekar, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Sand­hya Gokhale, was ad­dress­ing the press here fol­low­ing Fri­day’s in­ci­dent in Mum­bai where he was re­peat­edly in­ter­rupted dur­ing his speech at the NGMA. Palekar was in­vited as a speaker at the NGMA for the in­au­gu­ra­tion of renowned artist Prab­hakar Barwe’s ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion. He said the NGMA di­rec­tor re­peat­edly in­ter­rupted him dur­ing his speech when he tried to speak against the ar­bi­trary de­ci­sions taken by the gov­ern­ment re- gard­ing the gallery. Palekar said he told the di­rec­tor not to cen­sor his speech and that what­ever he was speak­ing was rel­e­vant to Barwe as well.

“There was no brief­ing from the cu­ra­tor, who in­vited me as a speaker, on the topic of my speech. How­ever, I was even­tu­ally in­ter­rupted so many times that I was forced to con­clude my speech. Had I been briefed and told not to speak against the gov­ern­ment, I would have cho­sen not to ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion,” Palekar said.

Gokhale said, “The au­di­ence con­sisted of se­nior and ju­nior artists as well as fol­low­ers of the art form. How­ever, none of them felt that Amolji should have been al­lowed to speak. No­body spoke for him, which is dis­ap­point­ing.”

NGMA had an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee com­pris­ing lo­cal artists, which de­cided on the ex­hi­bi­tions to be held at its Ben­galuru and Mum­bai cen­tres but, since Oc­to­ber, it has been placed di­rectly un­der the Union min­istry of cul­ture.

Palekar said he was shocked to learn that the NGMA ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee had been dis­solved. “I also learned that Barwe’s ex­hi­bi­tion would be the last ret­ro­spec­tive as a de­ci­sion had been taken that of the five floors at the NGMA, only the fifth floor (the dome) would ex­hibit works of artists out­side of NGMA. Two other ret­ro­spec­tives planned dur­ing the year have been can­celled and the artists con­cerned had been in­formed about this. No­body knows who took these de­ci­sions,” he said.

Palekar with his wife Sand­hya Gokhale at a news con­fer­ence on Sun­day

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