Controversy after three paintings of Hindu gods removed from exhibition in Bangalore

Controversy after three paintings of Hindu gods removed from exhibition in Bangalore
New Delhi Three paintings by a young artist have been removed from an exhibition in Bangalore on police orders, provoking a debate in the city on the freedom of artistic expression.

The police asked the owner of the Chitrakala Parishat gallery to remove the paintings - scantily clad depictions of Kali, Shiva with Sati, and Mohini, considered to be the female incarnation of Vishnu - after a BJP worker, Shivakumar phoned the police on Sunday, objecting to the works of art.

"The paintings were not good. I even went with the police to the gallery," said Mr Shivakumar. Though there was no written complaint, the police asked for the paintings to be removed from the gallery.

The artist is a 22-year-old named Anirudh Sainath Krishnamani. "I read the scriptures and then I paint goddesses and gods - but stilll that person found them objectionable. He found them obscene. The police came here and said either you remove the pictures or we will close the exhibition. So it was a huge pressure on us and we had to remove the pictures," he said.

The police, meanwhile, say they did not ask for the pictures to be removed. They say they asked Mr Shivakumar for a written complaint, which was not given - but that they did inform the gallery  about the complaint.

The gallery authorities then instructed Mr Krishnamani to take three of his paintings down; te authorities said they could lead to "unforeseen disturbances".

The artist's father, a senior Supreme Court lawyer named MN Krishnamani, told NDTV, "There is absolutely nothing objectionable in his paintings. If that is so, then all temples should be destroyed. It is his fundamental right, how can a single individual throttle an artist and several art lovers."

"I have no information about that. If anybody complains I will take action," said Home Minister R Ashok.

The exhibition had been inaugurated on Sunday by Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj.  

Story First Published: February 05, 2013 15:44 IST

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