Art exhibition: Police give clean chit to artist after visitor’s complaint of vulgarity

The idea behind the theme is to invite spectators to shed their predispositions while talking to women.

By: Express News Service | Pune | Updated: December 27, 2015 5:43 am
art exhibition, pune art exhibition, tapan pandit, out of context, pune news Tapan Pandit’s photo collection on display at Sambhaji Park. Sandeep Daundkar

After a complaint was registered by a visitor against “objectionable” and “vulgar” photos of women at an art exhibition in Sambhaji Park, a lady inspector from Deccan Police Station visited the exhibition to inspect the works and gave a clean chit to the artist Tapan Pandit. The inspector even acknowledged the efforts put in by Pandit for taking up women’s issues.

Pandit, one of the four photographers at the exhibition, has displayed his work titled ‘Out of Context’ where he has shown faces of different women,
without any accessories or make-up. The idea behind the theme is to invite spectators to shed their predispositions while talking to women.

After the photos were put up at Sambhaji Park on Friday evening, a spectator who found the photos “objectionable”, went to Deccan Police Station and filed a complaint, following which police inspector SV Khokale arrived at the exhibition and after talking with the artist and organisers, dismissed the criticism.

“The exhibition is titled “Being Woman”. The theme of the exhibition is women empowerment. The organisers have taken permission and the event is being organised in association with Pune Municipal Corporation. The complainant had said that he found the photos ‘vulgar’, but we found nothing objectionable in them,” Khokale said.

Meanwhile, after he came to know that a complaint was filed against his work, Pandit draped his photos in saree on Saturday morning. “Saree was symbolic. After Khokale dismissed the complaint, we again unveiled the photos. Initially, we were all scared, but we’re glad that police co-operated with us and stood by us,” Pandit said.

The artist said that he had expected some objection to the photos as ‘Out of Context’ was a new concept and required spectators to shed old thinking. “I knew that it won’t be a pleasant experience for everyone. It was not intended to be. But it would have been better, if the complainant had approached us for discussion,” Pandit said.

The exhibition, which would be open till January 9, is being organised by Goethe Institute Maxmuller Bhavan. Commenting on the incident, Savita Kelkar, member of the organising committee said, “We knew that there was nothing vulgar about Tapan’s work. In fact, he has talked about dropping prejudices while interacting with another human form. But unfortunately some people still have orthodox mindsets and can’t see the intention behind the work. We stand by Tapan and we sincerely thank the police for their support.”

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