Statement Against Proposed Vandalism of Ramkinkar Baij’s Artwork
August 11, 2017
Image Courtesy: frontline
Artists and Creative Community of India are against the vandalism proposed by the BJP government representative in Guwahati on the artwork of Ramkinkar Baij. This great Indian artist pioneered the modern movement in mid-twentieth century India. He was dedicated to the person and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, as he was to the adivasi communities and subaltern figures in the ethos he inhabited. He sought to find a form for several smaller sculptures of the Mahatma. This large sculpture was made by his students under Ramkinkar's mentorship.
The present right wing government works with a dangerous ignorance; given no understanding of contemporary cultural values and none to any kind of aesthetic criteria. This is well known to the practicing artists of India. And they have resisted the pernicious spread of this ideology at every instance in the past 25 years and more. Being presently in power, the RSS-BJP's representatives can now hold forth on the formal qualities of an artwork–in this case by a master artist. And decide to demolish what they cannot comprehend. This is like much else that is happening in India's civil and political society; like taking over of the cultural and academic institutions.
Until now Indian artists and Creative Community have, on the whole, not submitted to such an appalling and dangerous tendency. Today, it is important for us to stand in defence of an icon, in defence of Ramkinkar-guided sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi. Henceforth, in defence of art and its experimental freedom, of historical knowledge and its emancipatory possibilities we can together shame the communal and rightwing ideology of this government; together to prevent them winning any of their vulgar victories. Artists Dissent.
Kamlesh Kumar Kohli
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