NGMA Hushing Amol Palekar Mid-Speech Is Kaafi Real

NGMA Director Interrupts Amol Palekar When Art Speech Took Critical Turn

"It was clear that the director was under pressure", Palekar told a press conference in Pune on Sunday.

In the event, however, during the speech given by Amol Palekar, he was constantly interrupted by NGMA authorities owing to the fact that he criticized their idea of scrapping the advisory committee and having Delhi government officials approve the art that will be exhibited in the Mumbai and Bengaluru centers from hereon. I was speaking at NGMA and the changes in the organisation's policy.

Opening his speech with an anecdote, Palekar thanked the NGMA for holding a retrospective for Barwe - titled Inside The Empty Box - for the first time after his demise nearly 24 years ago.

On the request of the curator, Jesal Thacker, Palekar cut short his speech and walked off the podium.

On February 8, when Palekar was interrupted several times from delivering his speech, he had confronted the organisers and said they were "applying censorship" on his free expression. He said the NGMA director repeatedly interrupted him during his speech when he tried to speak against the arbitrary decisions taken by the government regarding the gallery.

He said the organisers kept bringing up the issue of propriety. 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.

"This event was at NGMA, which was also organising the retrospective".

The Barwe exhibition, Palekar had said, "will be the last show that is decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline".

He said it was a shock to him, and many other artistes. Are you trying to create a similar situation by stopping me from speaking here?

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 you don't want me to speak, I won't speak". "Why is it appropriate to speak about this in the cabin, and not on a stage?", asked Palekar.

In its statement, the ministry has claimed that, "The advisory committees of NGMA Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi have not been dissolved". Their terms have ended recently and the committees are in the process of being reconstituted.

Palekar, the chief guest at the event, had described as "disastrous" the culture ministry's decision to abolish the advisory committee of local artists at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai and Bangalore. The decision of dissolving the committee was taken by the Ministry and he went on to criticse this decision of the dissolution.

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