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MP arts: An opportunity missed

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 15:19 IST

HERE IS a lesson on how to turn a potential big show into a no-show. It is about the exhibition of paintings by tribal artists from Madhya Pradesh that was inaugurated by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday evening at Lalit Kala Akademi.

The presence of CM, an important minister and well-known bureaucrats of MP cadre gave an impression as if Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, was the venue of exhibition.

Considering that the show was happening in the highly charged-up art season here, one wondered why Delhi’s art connoisseurs were conspicuous by their absence?

And if the organisers (Vanya, a unit of the Department of Tribal Welfare, MP) couldn’t care less about Delhi’s movers and shakers, then what was the need to hold exhibition in Delhi?

The only known faces at the venue representing Delhi’s art aficionados were Ashok Vajpeyi (obviously, for his MP connection), Rajeev Sethi and Jaya Jaitley.

Going round the exhibition, Jaitley said, “It’s time traditional arts of India are highlighted. Though it is a community art, it gives scope to artists to express their individuality”.

Most of the visitors at the venue were from Bhopal and were in a hurry to return by the Bhopal Express. Political bigwigs, officials and part of the jamboree from Bhopal hardly bothered to know about the paintings and the artists.

“It seems the Madhya Pradesh Government is treating it as a formality rather than seriously promoting tribal art,” remarked Shona Chakravorty, an art lover, who also happens to be into auction business.   

An artist from a tribal-dominated district of MP, presently living in Bhopal on condition of anonymity said, “We are happy to be here but for every work sold, 20 per cent will go to the show organisers”.

Some of the Gond artists, though delighted over the presence of the CM, were doubtful if selling of their work would get them a decent price.