Artist's paintings should be self explanatory? "a picture should speak a 1000 words".
Artists need to follow traditional parameters while painting religious iconography....modern interpretations will be considered blasphemous
The state can take action against artists if these guidelines are not observed"
Sangeeta Thapa on Facebook quoting or paraphrasing the official 'police' reaction .
Watching the Kathmandu gallery episode unfold on social media is a fascinating eye opener . So much to learn so much to think about . so many spaces to open up. in the minds of artists and even their local audiences.
At the heart of the incident I see a dangerous disconnect between local audiences and the Modern Artists ensconced in their white cube, sanitiising, gallery spaces. Spaces that are about a different audience from a very different , disconnected world. A very white and western world which is , at this very moment, in the midst of its own actually bloody battle about " free speech' in Libya and the Middle East .
All this, for me personally, has has a sorry sense of deja vu. The same battles were fought when Safdar Hashmi was murdered in India. When SAHMAT was formed to fight cultural wars but ended up fighting them in drawing rooms and sanitised/ santising gallery spaces. The street where Safdar had fought his street theater battles was ignored and SAHMAT actually created a rift between itself and his street theater troupe.
Artists, ignore their society's public spaces at their own peril. By leaving those spaces open to more politically astute and connected- to- the- street others, they are losing the cultural wars and the cultural spaces that the battles are being, and will be, fought on.
"The problem manish harijan is facing with his exhibition stems from the misinterpretation of his contemporary work...the ugly face of rightist fundamentalism has reared it's head....Nepal society is by large a tolerant and peaceful one...we need to preserve this please"
Sangeeta Thapa post on facebook
Contemporary, according the Free Dicitionary means "Belonging to the same period of time". Within and not just outside a society, one might add .