Gay artists show stopped by right wing loonies

Gay artist Balbir Krishan’s art exhibition has been cancelled in the city after organisers received threats from some right-wing political arm-twisters.

The Hyderabad Saffron Taliban is at it again, we hear.

In what the Times of India calls a ‘ shocking incident’, Uttar Pradesh-based gay artist Balbir Krishan’s show was cancelled late on Saturday evening after a group of people, claiming to belong to a political party, threatened the organisers and demanded they call off the event.krishan

The group said the paintings, which are themed around nudity and homosexuality, were  ‘against Indian culture’. A preview of the show was held on Saturday evening at an art gallery in Lower Tank Bund, after which the incident took place.

Kaali Sudheer, stated that things were fine during the preview on Saturday, which went on till quite some time. “ Around 11 pm, a few right wing activists paid me a visit at the gallery and asked me to cancel the show. They said the artworks and artist stand for everything that’s ‘against Indian culture’… “The people who paid me a visit are extremely well-known and influential. I don’t want hassles. I had no option but to cancel the show.”

Titled My Bed of Roses, the show is inspired from Balbir’s personal life, and captures his bold expressions of living in the closet. Upon knowing about the cancellation, the artist was in a state of shock. “I’m not able to comprehend anything. Last night, the preview went off so smoothly that I couldn’t have guessed something of this sort could transpire.”

The artist said that the  curator Sudheer did not call to inform him about the cancellation of the show. “Even after I had woken up today, I didn’t know that my exhibition was called off. Only after I logged on to my social networking page and saw a post did I get to know of it.  The art gallery has now been stripped of my paintings. I don’t know what transpired, but I got to know that some right wing activists protested against my works, and hence, the organisers had to call off the exhibition,” informed Balbir.

Sharad Datta, the general manager of the hotel where the art gallery is housed, said that he didn’t receive any calls or threats from anyone. “My staff told me that during the preview, some of the guests were uncomfortable with the paintings and termed them ‘risque’. Since we haven’t displayed artworks like this before, our guests felt rattled. It’s a large hotel and we have to take everyone’s sentiments into consideration.”

This isn’t the first time Balbir’s works have fallen prey to lumpen activism. In January 2012, the artist was attacked and abused by an unidentified man at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, who also damaged one of his paintings. “I never expected to face such backlash in Hyderabad,” said the shocked artist.

The city’s art fraternity too reacted strongly to the incident. “An artist has the freedom to paint anything on canvas, as long as he/she does not hurt religious sentiments. We live in a hypocritical society. Those who say this exhibition is ‘against Indian culture’, need to take a hard look at the cultural history of the country.

 

Take a trip to Khajuraho or any ancient Indian temple, and you will find erotic sculptures. Is that not Indian culture?” asks artist Fawad Tamkanat.

City-based artist Sravanthi Juluri too voices a similar opinion. “If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. You can’t force others to toe your line or supress someone’s artistic freedom. The self-styled morality police can only see the eroticism, they fail to see the trauma lurking within Balbir’s paintings. He is being targeted because he is gay.”

Speaking on Balbir, Fawad said, “I’m proud of Balbir. He has come forward to express himself, which is artistic freedom that no one can take away from him. One should not be judged based on their sexuality.”

Says an astute observer: “Well folks, get ready. If this fella Narendra Modi is going to become the next prime minister of India, you bet that the Bajrang dal will bludgeon Balbir Krishan!

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Posted by on December 3, 2013. Filed under Breaking News,RAINBOW,WORLD NEWS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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