A painting by Delhi-based artist Ankur Rana, which is on display at the ongoing United Art Fair (UAF), has come under the scanner for being the replica of a popular photo by Russian photographer Murad Osmann. The photo is from Osmann’s series ‘Girlfriend leads boyfriend’ and shows a girl dressed in green, holding her beau’s hand.
Rana’s controversial work, Love Battlefield, shows the same imagery, albeit with a different background. It has no reference to Osmann or his work. But Rana insists that he hasn’t copied the photo. “I saw it on the internet and really liked it. But I’ve not copied it,” he says.
Art experts, however, beg to differ. “If you’re inspired by an art piece, you interpret it in your own way. You do not copy it,” says artist Rameshwar Broota. “The artist has reproduced the work. He could be inspired. But then, where is his creativity?” asks art critic Gayatri Sinha. Surprisingly, the UAF catalogue shows the same painting minus the female figure. Peter Nagy, artistic director, UAF, defends Rana, saying, “He has taken inspiration from a famous photography work. What’s wrong in it?”