Barely four days after Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the Lalit Kala Akademi’s International Kala Mela, allegations that an artist had copied paintings by another artist and put them on display created a flutter at the event. The artist facing the charge said she would remove the works from the exhibition.
A Facebook post by Hyderabad-based art curator Koeli Mukherjee Ghose accused the artist, Lekha Sabharwal, of copying the work of veteran artist Parameshwar Raju, and demanded that the works be taken down.
The post, which has attached two pictures of Sabharwal’s works purportedly imitating Raju’s works, says: “I earnestly urge Ms Lekha Sabharwal to withdraw these limp copies of Parameshwar Raju’s works from Lalit Kala Akademi’s ongoing Art Fair (at) the IGNCA, New Delhi. This is not only copied very badly, it is wrong to cheat — the viewers, the artist who has created and imagined this form is known, respected across the globe, but also Ms Lekha herself is cheating her own creative growth by doing this in full view of the Art Community.”
When contacted, Sabharwal said, “I am a self-taught artist and we always take references from works of other artists. The said works were inspired by the works of a Sri-Lankan street artist that I saw more than a decade ago. I don’t even know Mr Raju or his work. In any case, I am removing those works.”