When city-based painter Murli Lahoti was in his late 50s, he joined several artistes demanding the state’s own Maharashtra Kala Akademi. Today, Lahoti is 74, and is still fighting for the cause.
“The state government has no respect for art and artistes. For the last 15 years, we have been fighting for the same cause…,” said Lahoti, adding that it was time city artistes got their due and the government took steps to establish the Kala Akademi.
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Almost 100 artistes from the city have come together for a signature campaign for the Kala Akademi. Artistes from other parts of the state too are supporting it. The signed letter will be submitted to Vinod Tawde, state minister for primary, higher and technical education as well as medical education and culture. Tawde could not be contacted for comments.
“We are in the process of collecting signatures; the number of artistes joining the campaign should touch nearly 1,000. A letter is being drafted that elaborates the necessity of the Kala Akademi in the state and how it will benefit artistes,” said 70-year-old Raosaheb Gurav, another city-based artiste.
Almost all states in the country, he said, have their own Kala Akademi. “The Akademi helps upcoming as well as established artistes. For instance, if a Pune-based artiste wants to exhibit his works in Kerala, the Akademi can fund the exhibition,” said Gurav, adding that besides, the Akademi can also offer scholarships to talented and budding artistes.
Gurav said from publishing art-related works and honoring artistes to holding art exhibitions, Akademies do it all.
Other than senior artistes who have joined the cause, there are several young artistes too. For instance, city-based painters like Shrikant Kadam and Dinkar Thopate. “Art and artistes of Maharashtra need a platform that will support, promote and showcase their works, which is possible only when the state gets its own Kala Akademi,” said Kadam.