My first published article am super thrilled about!
The photographs, that populate the archive of Simmons, represent a history, the violence of which has been erased in ways that enable that violence to continue into the contemporary. The exhibition embeds itself in a history of an arts practice defining itself in its opposition to the unruly chaotic caste and language based democratic appropriations of street and visual space. It creates a desire, a nostalgia that ends up ironically supporting private capital’s appropriation of public space.
This post carries on some of the research found on this blog investigating into the conditions under which public tourist spaces are being handed over to private capital/unelected government in the name of development in Karnataka.
V Ravichander, co-chair of Karnataka Tourism Vision Group, has consistently stated in press reports that it was the Government of Karnataka who approached private capital to adopt these tourist spaces. Here’s a quote from March 28th 2016,
“KTVG played no role in suggesting the adoption of VAG. The adoption programme under corporate social responsibility (CSR) was conceived by the Karanataka government’s tourism ministry. KTVG welcomed it once it became the official policy of the government, and approached corporates and foundations to let them know about the adoption programme. The reality is that there aren’t donors queuing up showing interest; the properties adopted had only one suitor though over 100 firms were approached.” Firstpost
I have thought about writing this for quite a long time not knowing how to do it. The recent protests at Tate Modern brings new hope about solidarities amongst women, solidarities amongst artists and most importantly a questioning of institutions that engage in silences erasing women’s histories of violence.
This protest existed in many spaces. We are angry at the way the art institution lets down women artists, artists of colour, queer artists, non binary artists and trans artists by staying silent over violence against our bodies. We are angry at the erasure of these marginalised bodies from archives, and the lack of justice we constantly suffer.
We were also angry that the death of a woman of colour is deemed so unimportant it has no repercussions for the man who allegedly killed her.
One of the questions that has come to define the discourse around the privatisation of Venkatappa Art Gallery has been the lack of funding, the inability of GoK to run it without money and the promise of the flood of plush private funds. An examination of the annual reports of the Department of Museums and Archeology and related documents paint a completely different picture. A picture that will change some of the questions that have been imposed on to those protesting this take over and tell us more about what is actually happening in the name of PPP.
During the year 2014-15, the Department of Museum and Archaeology was allocated a budget of 65 crores. Out of this they managed to spend only 43.80 crores leaving an unutilised surplus of 21.20 crores. Within the overall spending, the department, has managed to spend only 40.63 lakhs on development of Venkatappa Art Gallery in 2014-15 and 1.97 lakhs in 2013-14 with none specified in 2012-2013. Continue reading →