Sunday, Apr 07, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
The discussion, held here on Saturday, was prompted by the sale of paintings under the "Manegondu Kalakriti" (a painting for each home) scheme by the Lalitkala Academy in January. The academy reportedly sold around 800 paintings, drawings, and prints which fetched Rs. seven lakh. The Chairman of the academy reportedly said that the money would go towards the artists' welfare fund.
It was alleged that some of the works sold by the academy were part of its permanent collection and some were culled from unclaimed works left behind after the annual exhibitions. This disturbed artists and connoisseurs. It was also charged that many award-winning works of noted artists, including the late G.S. Shenoy, the late Y. Subramanya Raju, and the late Minajagi, and others such as R.M. Hadapad, S.G. Vasudev, Yusuf Arakkal and J.M.S. Mani were sold for a song.
A number of writers, artists, architects and filmmakers who participated in the discussion felt that the sale contravened the objectives of the academy as public body to promote art. They also wondered why a competent committee comprising art historians was not formed to decide which paintings should be sold.
Inaugurating the discussion, U.R. Ananthamurthy, writer, said when a body such as the Lalitkala Academy owned a work of art, it automatically became public property, and the academy did not have the moral right to sell it. Besides, selling valuable works for a pittance showed poor judgment, he said.
The artist, S.G. Vasudev, said that a piece of art of was more valuable than money. He read out a letter written by the Minister of State for Kannada and Culture, Rani Satish, who had been invited to participate in the discussion.
The filmmaker, M.S. Satyu, and the artists, Yusuf Arakkal, Chi. Su. Krishna Setty and Balan Nambiar, and the theatre personality, Jagdish Raja, spoke.
In her letter which was read out, Ms. Rani Satish, who had inaugurated the sale of the paintings by the academy, staunchly defended the decision of the academy. "Public opinion is always valid in a democracy," she said.She clarified that "the purpose of selling art works is not to make money. The very intention is to see that such works find a place in the minds and homes of connoisseurs. It is also an honour for the artists concerned, as people who cannot afford to pay huge sums for a work of art purchase it out of love."
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