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First Indian Art Summit commences amid controversy

New Delhi, Fri, 22 Aug 2008 NI Wire

The three-day art exhibition, country’s first art summit, showcasing works of prominent as well as budding artists commenced here at Pragati Maidan on Friday amidst controversies as works of the icon of Indian painting, says, M F Hussain, who provided recognition to India at the world art-platform, are kept out of displaying.

The organisers of the art exhibition cite security concerns as the reason for not showcasing works of the celebrated painter, M F Hussain.

The Union Ministry of Culture taking note of the reports popping up in a section of media regarding the non-inclusion of Hussain’s paintings at the India Art Summit issued a release in which it said: “While the Union Ministry of Culture welcomes all attempts of creativity, it has not been consulted regarding the artists whose works are to be displayed at the India Art Summit.”

The Ministry said that Hussain is one of the most prominent artists of the country and the absence of his works at the summit will not reflect the true art scenario of India. It suggested that all the major artists and their works comprising Hussain’s are to be showcased at such event.

Before the commencement of exhibition prominent artists across India urged the Hanmer and MS&L, the organisers of the first India Art Summit to reconsider their decision of not displaying Hussain’s paintings.

Under the banner of Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) the signatories put forwarded a statement where they said if the organisers are doing so out of security concerns, they should allay such fears of attack or protest by extremist political groups. Citing last December exhibition held at the India International Centre under the police protection, they advised organisers to have faith on police and state whose duty is to provide security to institutions and citizens against violence.

However, amid these deliberations, the three-day exhibitions started on Friday with showcasing paintings of Tyeb Mehta, F N Souza and S H Raza and others except Hussain; the summit will also focus on the growing market of the country’s art and artists.

"The fair is first of its kind in India and the support from the art industry has been overwhelming so far. By next year we are expecting the participation of more than 80 art galleries," Sunil Gautam, M D of Hanmer and MS&L, the organisers of the Summit, said.

"Next year, the second edition of the Indian Art Summit will be held from August 19 to 21 and we are expecting the participation of international art galleries in the Summit," said Gautam.

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