Balbir Krishan is not new to criticism. The artist who hails from Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh has explored human figures in bold,expressive forms and has often created images that reflect his own struggle for homosexual rights,with much difficulty though,given his conventional family background. However,his latest solo show at Lalit Kala Akademi titled Out Here and Now,a series on homosexuality,has evoked considerable ire in Delhi. After numerous anonymous threat calls received after the exhibition opened on December 29,the artist was attacked by a masked man,yesterday morning,and one of his works was damaged.
Dedicated to late Bhupen Khakars 1987 work Yayati that depicts a homosexual episode from Mahabharata the show remained open to the public yesterday,even after the attack. The artist,who uses prosthetic legs,was hit at the back of his head and was kicked repeatedly by the attacker. The incident was recorded on the Akademis CCTV. I have not portrayed homosexuality before,but I have painted male figures. Since I support homosexuality,this work was personal for me. However,I never expected such a reaction, remarks Krishan,adding,In Jamia and Garhi,posters of my show were torn. I have been receiving phone calls referring to MF Husains self-imposed exile and Article 377, said Krishan.
Photographer Ram Rahman,who has supported Krishan during the show,expressed his disappointment. The problem is they referred to MF Husain and Section 377 and they sound like they belong to the right-wing. Theres nothing wrong with the artwork. Its semi-erotic and we have a long tradition of such art. The whole thing of intimidation and using violence to protest is criminal and shameful, he said.
The exhibition will continue at Triveni Kala Sangam till January 15. Contact: 23718833