Bengaluru Protests – Protect our public spaces

This is an invitation from VAG Forum for two events happening this weekend articulating dissent about the way in which our public spaces are being handed over to private players without public consent.

15th March 2016

Artists and Art Loving Fraternity, Karnataka

Dear Sir/Madam,
Subject: Tribute to K. Venkatappa on Saturday, 19th March 2016 and Protest at Town Hall on Sunday,

20th March 2016 against ‘The take-over of Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bengaluru, by a private foundation’

Friends, by now you are all aware of the fact that the Government of Karnataka has signed an MOU with a private enterprise namely Tasveer Foundation and given away ‘Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bengaluru’ in adoption, thereby handing over the entire functional management of the gallery to the private enterprise. You are also aware that this unfair adoption has created uproar in the artist community of Karnataka and our movement has begun opposing this, under the banner of ‘Venkatappa Art Gallery Forum’. We, the ‘Visual Artists of Karnataka’ categorically object to and reject this MOU which has been exchanged without the knowledge of the artist community. Our ‘first event of protest’ “We@Venkatappa” held on 6th March, 2016, at Venkatappa Art Gallery saw more than 500 artists from Bengaluru and few representatives of artist community from other districts, encircling Venkatappa Art Gallery in a human chain symbolically. The MoU was read out and discussed thoroughly with a packed audience of senior and junior artists, art curators and critics, art students and supporters. The whole house in one voice expressed their disapproval to the adoption plan and decided to urge the Government to scrap the MoU that the Government has unilaterally signed.

It has also come to our notice through the recent press reports that this MoU was signed without the knowledge of the Ministry of Kannada and Culture, the mother department to which Venkatappa Art Gallery belongs to. This reinforces the lack of transparency and undemocratic unilateral decision-making in the entire MoU signing process. This also raises the fear that this MoU was done in a surreptitious manner and strengthens our stand to demand an annulment of the MoU.

So friends, to keep this momentum and to build pressure on the Government to scrap the MoU, we have planned events of Tribute and Protest for Saturday 19th March and Sunday 20th March. We want you to participate in these events, thereby adding your voice to strengthen the movement. The events is as follows:

 Saturday 19th March 2016, 8am to 1pm. Event – “WePaint@VAG”, Bengaluru: “Tribute to K. Venkatappa!” – Painting or sketching Venkatappa Art Gallery on the spot, when the morning rays fall beautifully on Venkatappa Art Gallery. K. Venkatappa, being the first Modernist of

Karnataka and one of the finest water-colourist & landscape artist, this will be a tribute to him from the artist community of Karnataka! A3 size paper will be provided. Please get your own paints and other materials needed.

 Sunday 20th March 2016, 11am to 1pm. Event – “We@TownHall”, Bengaluru: PROTEST!! – Artists holding Black Umbrellas!!! Artists shall hold before them the works created on 19th at Venkatappa Art Gallery, as well as photos made under the ‘HUGVAG’ on the 6th of March. All who come for the protest are requested to get your own black umbrella of any size.

The gathering on Sunday, 20th March 2016, will include people from other cultural and social circles like the Literary, Theatre, Film, Social Activists and Supporters who are one with us in this movement. We are expecting a gathering of 500 and more. Few senior artists and well-known figures will be addressing the gathering. We call upon you to join us in large numbers and voice unanimously “Venkatappa Art Gallery is Ours”.

Thanking you
Warm regards
(Please share this Invite with your other contacts in your circle and also urge them to join us. Please also ask them to send a mail to to join our mailing list.)

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