An anonymous call ruined artist Nandkumar Jogdand’s dream on September 2.
The Aurangabad artist's first solo exhibit was closed to public viewing from The Nehru Center at Worli after an anonymous phone call to the gallery asking them to remove a painting to avoid controversy. The exhibit was supposed to be on from September 1 to 6.
From his 23 paintings, two were declared provocative and the artist was asked to withdraw the paintings. One called 'Blind Faith', which depicts a puja in Karnataka shows a Hindu goddess in a provocative way. The other painting is called Gandhi.
"It was my first solo exhibition. Initially, because of the anonymous call I was asked to remove Blind Faith. I was ready to remove the painting but then the next day the gallery asked me to remove Gandhi. I refused to remove it. It is a clear violation of my right to liberty and expression," said the artist.
The artist has suffered monetary loss of about Rs 2 lakh. The gallery has promised a refund.
"None of the viewers had any objections. If such things keep happening then I guess painters must stop painting because if you cant express yourself freely, then what is the point in painting?" said Jogdand, who will now return to Aurangabad.
When asked about whether he will exhibit both the paintings again, he said: “It depends on the opportunity that I will get. I will keep doing the work on my own way. I am not afraid of anything. I am ready to exhibit my work even on the roads if the galleries refuse." No one at the gallery was available to comment.