Row as BJP minister calls modern art pseudo

The opening of the southern regional branch of the National Gallery of Modern Art...

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore | Published: February 19, 2009 11:51 pm

The opening of the southern regional branch of the National Gallery of Modern Art at Bangalore on Wednesday was marred by a snap protest by artists over a remark on modern art made by Karnataka Minister of Medical Education Ramachandra Gowda.

The minister,in the course of his speech as one of the main invitees at the event alongside Union Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni,said,“modern art has become a medium for pseudo intellectuals to insult ancient Indian culture.”

“I regret to say some people like to run down ancient art due to their distorted and perverted thinking,” said Ramachandra Gowda.

While the minister was still speaking,a group of artists from Karnataka raised their voices in protest against the comment. “Mr Gowda,you have no right to speak about modern art,you know nothing about it. We object to your remarks,” said M S Murthy,an artist and director of ‘Bhoomi – the centre for artists’ in Bangalore. He was joined by other local artists like Anandani and C Chandrashekhar.

Enraged by the intervention,the minister said,“I have the freedom of speech.”

When the group of artists continued to object to the remarks,the minister asked the police to throw them out.

The artists were then forced out and some sections of the crowd too left the venue,saying,“we are with the artists,there is no need to be fascists.”

“I am not against modern art. I am only saying it should be within cultural norms. My remarks are only for those who have distorted Indian culture and heritage,not for everyone,”Gowda later clarified.

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