Meeting fails to decide on art gallery adoption

Meeting fails to decide on art gallery adoption

A meeting convened by Tourism and Industries Minister R V Deshpande to discuss the controversy surrounding the Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) ‘adoption’ memorandum of understanding (MoU), remained inconclusive on Thursday.

Neither was he able to convince the artist community about the premise and the logic behind the MoU, nor were the artists able to convince the government to scrap the MoU.

The meeting was called following a heated debate in the Legislative Assembly recently, with the Opposition BJP and some of the Congress MLAs attacking the government for ‘privatising’ the gallery.

At that time, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deshpande had assured the House that a meeting would be convened where efforts would be made to convince the MLAs opposing the move, as well as the artists of the State who have been  continually staging protests in front of the gallery.

MLAs including Jagadish Shettar, Suresh Kumar, Ashwathanarayana, Y S V Datta, Arvind Bellad and Kannada and Culture Minister Umashree were present at the meeting.

When contacted by this newspaper, visual artist Pushpamala N hit back at the government for being “vague” and for taking the side of Tasveer Foundation, the agency which has signed the MoU with the Archaeology department. “Despite our repeated demands to scrap the MoU, the minister refused to budge. It is apparent that he is on the side of MAP (Tasveer Foundation). We have systematically critiqued the MoU, which is irregular and clearly indicative of privatisation. The government has set a horrible precedent. Fortunately, the Opposition leaders too have opposed the move. On our end, we are going to continue our campaign until the MoU is withdrawn,” she added.The Forum will stage another protest in front of the gallery on April 10 by adopting the ‘World Cafe’ method.

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