An art performance to celebrate womanhood and show solidarity with women across the country at the India Art Fair, on its last day Sunday, was cut short over complaints that it was “political in nature”.
Yaman Navlakha (35), who was involved in creating the artwork titled ‘The Wall’, said it was a collection of paintings made by women. “Someone complained it was a protest-inspired work… It was not, ” he claimed.
He alleged that police barged in towards the end of the performance, when the artwork was being held up and as Hum Dekhenge — a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz — was being sung.
A statement from the India Art Fair said the incident took place at the booth of the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre. Their contract with the embassy required it to share details of all activities slated to take place at the booth. “We were not informed about activities at the booth. In fact, post the incident, the fair director spoke with the Italian Ambassador who confirmed they too had not been informed of the activities taking place in their booth. The organisers only became aware when police arrived. They told us they had received a complaint,” the statement said.
A senior police officer said, “We got a call from the fair about a controversial CAA-related painting being displayed. A team went there and found no such painting. We didn’t remove or confiscate any artwork.”
At the start of the fair, organisers had put up a notice saying they were aware of events across Delhi-NCR and the country, but said they have a “zero-tolerance policy against banners or sloganeering” as their “permissions are restricted to exhibition of art”.
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