Threat to Vandalise Ram Kinker Baij's Work Condemned

SAHMAT
Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29 Ferozshah Road,New Delhi-110001
Tel-23381276/23070787

Date: 11-08-2017
 
Statement against proposed vandalism of Ramkinkar Baij’s artwork
Artists and Creative Community of India are aghast at the vandalism proposed against the artwork of one India's greatest artists by a representative of the BJP government in Guwahati. Ramkinkar Baij pioneered the modern movement in mid-twentieth century India. He was dedicated to the person and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, as he was to the adivasi communities and subaltern figures in the ethos he inhabited. He sought to find a form for this in several smaller sculptures of the Mahatma. This large sculpture was made by his students under Ramkinkar's mentorship.
The rightwing ideology of the present government works with dangerous ignorance; no understanding of contemporary cultural values, none of any kind of aesthetic criteria. This is well known to the practicing artists of India. And they have resisted the pernicious spread of this ideology at every instance in the past 25 years and more. Being presently in power, the RSS-BJP's representatives can now hold forth on the formal qualities of an artwork--in this case by a master artist. And decide to demolish what they cannot comprehend. This is like much else that is happening in India's civil and political society; like taking over of the cultural and academic institutions.
Until now Indian artists and Creative Community have, on the whole, not submitted to such an appalling and dangerous tendency. Today, the defence of an icon: the defence of this Ramkinkar-guided sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi. Henceforth, and always, the defense of art and its experimental freedoms; of historical knowledge and its emancipatory possibilities. We can together shame  the communal and rightwing ideology of this government; together we can prevent them winning any of their vulgar victories. Artists Dissent.
 
Vivan Sundaram
Ram Rahman
Geeta Kapur
Tushar Joag
Sharmila Samant
Veer Munshi
Inder Salim
Parthiv Shah
Shakuntala Kulkarni
Ananya Vajpeyi
Sunil Kothari
Gulammohammed Sheikh
Nilima Sheikh
Rashmi Kaleka
Mithu Sen
Bharti Kher
Subodh Gupta
Nikhil Kumar
Vijay Pratap
Rajni Bhagat
Rajinder Arora
Pushpamala N.
Nirmalangshu Mukherji 
Sunil Gupta
Kamlesh Kumar Kohli
Sudhir Chandra
Shukla Sawant