KARACHI, Aug 17: Art became the latest victim of tensions along the Line of Control on Saturday when an exhibition organised by the Mumbai-based International Creative Art Centre (Icac) and Islamabad’s Gallery-6 in Ahmedabad was vandalised by members of an extremist Hindu group.
One Indian newspaper reported that members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad had attacked the gallery showcasing artworks by 17 Pakistani artists. All the exhibits were destroyed in the incident.
The artists whose artworks were on display are: Abid Hasan, Abrar Ahmed, Akram Spaul, Aqeel Solangi, Arjumand Faisal, Hajra Mansoor, Irfan Gul Dahri, Musarrat Naheed Imam, Masood A. Khan, Mughees Riaz, Mudassar Manzoor, Mutaib Shah, Omar Farid, Mansoor Rahi, R.M. Naeem, Sana Arjumand and Wahab Jaffer.
Talking to Dawn, Dr Arjumand Faisal of Gallery-6 said: “Last year we were approached by Icac. They said they liked the paintings put up on our website and offered to do a show in Mumbai.
“…our first show took place in Mumbai at the Maharashtra Kala Academy. Fifty paintings by 17 Pakistani and six Indian artists were exhibited.”
Faisal pointed out that prior to the show, the incident of an Indian soldier’s beheading had happened. There was a lot of buzz about that. Only three of Pakistani artworks were sold. At Mumbai, he said, it was decided that a travelling show would also be held through Ahmedabad, Delhi and Chennai.
“In India they rent out galleries. Ni Gufa Gallery in Ahmedabad (where the latest incident took place) was made by M.F. Husain. The show organisers had… booked it from Aug 13 to Aug 18. On the inaugural day, an Indian artist protested against the show, carrying a placard. And yesterday, around 4pm, I received a call from Ravindra Marya of Icac who told me that 25 men had barged into the gallery and destroyed all the paintings. They even broke the gallery’s doors. I was shocked.
After that his (Marya’s) phone remained switched off. Perhaps he was hiding from the miscreants,” said Faisal.