Naked aggression:Cops protect nude art but paintings removed

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Delhi Police
New Delhi/Bangalore, Feb 5: An art gallery here exhibiting paintings of nude human figures was provided police protection today after protests by right-wing groups. The gallery owner said no painting has been removed since there was nothing objectionable in them.

The galley is being provided protection after an art academy in Bangalore was forced to remove "objectionable" paintings of Hindu deities.

"Not one painting has been removed," Delhi Art Gallery owner Ashis Anand told IANS, after a group of right-wing activists said the show -- "The Naked and the Nude" -- was "in bad taste" and put pressure on the gallery to remove paintings of naked human figures by masters of modern Indian art spanning over a century.

"We have sought police protection and policemen have been posted outside the gallery to prevent right-wing groups from vandalising the artwork, bulk of which is rare and old. There is nothing objectionable about the paintings," Anand told IANS. "It is an extremely important show."

The show explores the popular thematic concept of the human body in art and how artists have looked at it as part of their narrative.

Anand said attempts to disrupt the show were a cause for alarm with regard to India's liberal tradition and freedom of artistic expression guaranteed by the constitution.

"We believe in everyone's right to debate, discus and protest provided it is non-abusive, non-violent and non-threatening. The exhibition will continue," Anand said.

However, Chitra Kala Parishath in Bangalore on Monday removed some paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses by artist Anirudh Sainath amid fears of offending religious sentiments. The painter said he was inspired by sculptures in the temples of Khajuraho.

The Parishath claims it had received several threat calls over the three paintings that depicted Hindu gods Kali, Shiva and Parvati in the nude.
The Bangalore Police had reservations about the three paintings. They told the organisers to go ahead with the exhibition without the three paintings. The exhibition was going on without the three nude paintings.

The three paintings out of the around other 40 paintings of gods and goddesses exhibited in the gallery were removed in the wake of threat of protest by the public over phone and also a request from police that it might create a law and order problem, chief administrator officer of Parishath Shridhar said.

The Parishath rents out the gallery to up and coming and established artists on a regular basis to exhibit their works, Shridhar said.

"On receiving phone calls from the public that they would stage dharna in front of the Parishath if the paintings sacrilegious to Hindu sentiments are not removed and request from the jurisdictional police, we asked the artist to remove the three nude paintings", he said.

IANS

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