Calls from unidentified persons to the High Grounds police and a subsequent “intelligence report” saw a young artist from Delhi––Anirudh Sainath Krishnamani––scamper for help at the Chitra Kala Parishath (CKP) here on Monday.
Continuing trend of expressing dissent over art forms in the country, three out of the many works exhibited by Anirudh, in his 20s, at CKP, were removed from the gallery.
His exhibition of paintings was inaugurated by Governor H R Bhardwaj on Sunday.
While one “objectionable” picture depicts goddess Kali completely nude, another had Shiva and Sati hugging each other. The last picture was that of Mohini (Lord Vishnu as a woman) lying on a bed with partially exposed upper half.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Anirudh said: “Last evening, after the exhibition was inaugurated, I received calls saying the police have a problem with three of my works and that they wanted it removed from the gallery. This is not just an attack on me, it is an attack on art. We know what happened to people like Hussain in this country.”
He was told that the paintings had to be removed by Monday. And the police presence at CKP on Monday was apparent with more than nine personnel, including a sub-inspector.
When asked, R Sreedhar, Chief Administrative Officer, CKP, he said: “We were informed that the police had received calls and that there was also an intelligence report expecting an attack here if the paintings were displayed further.”
He pointed out that the police, Anirudh, and experts from CKP had a meeting Monday morning and that the experts did not find the art work unaesthetic.
“We have told the artist that we do not have a problem with the work. However, in view of the unforeseen problem, which could turn into a law and order problem, we requested the artist to remove the said paintings,” he said.
M N Krishnamani, Anirudh’s father and senior Supreme Court Advocate, said: “We have sought CKP to give us in writing that the paintings are being removed owing to police pressure. I will take the matter up legally.”
Sreedhar said the CKP had given a letter requesting the artist to remove the paintings. “However, they wanted us to include that we are insisting such action as there is pressure from the police. I will have to consult other people in the organisation and the concerned department in the government before doing this,” he said.
Attempts to obtain a copy of the letter was futile with the officials not having made a decision until late evening.
Raghavendra, the SI present at the spot did not confirm about the complaints against the paintings or the intelligence report. “In case there is an FIR or other such developments, we will make it public,” he told Deccan Herald.