Speech disrupted, Palekar says will question govt NGMA policy change
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