Following strong Indian protests, the organisers of the biggest contemporary Indian art exhibition in Beijing have removed a video installation that included references to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Earlier, the exhibition had to remove artwork with negative references to the Indian military and New Delhi’s role in the Northeast. Chinese censors had also culled material before it opened.
Otherwise, Indian Highway, a collection of 200 exhibits — including photographs, paintings, videos and sculptures — has been a success, generating considerable interest among the Chinese public. Some 1,000 people visited it daily on weekdays. And on one weekend, it had 10,000 visitors.
An official said it’s been a successful show and one piece should not undermine the interest it generated.
The exhibition was organised by a private gallery and there was no Chinese government role.
The five-minute video, I Love My India, directed by artist Tejal Shah, interviews children and youth about their awareness of Godhra.
Following Indian diplomatic intervention, organisers of the exhibition at the Ullin’s Centre for Contemporary Art gallery agreed to “curtail” the video exhibit.
Embassy sources said that on the inaugural day, when the Indian ambassador was present, that particular video wasn’t shown.
They also denied there were any protests from the Indian community in Beijing against any of the exhibits.
The Shah tape, said foreign ministry officials in New Delhi, has been exhibited in different parts of the world since 2009, but its references to Godhra had not received notice earlier. They said the content on the clip had been brought to their notice and that they were looking into it.
(With inputs from Jayanth Jacob in New Delhi)