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Police has barged into an @indiaartfair booth with art by @gargichandola and @jefeyaman and is objecting to the artwork which doesn't mention NRC or CAA. The organizers have not stood up to the Police and has instead questioned the artists why they didn't mention before their work was going to be inflammatory. First, it's not inflammatory, and second even if it did refer to the current protests, what's the problem? @indiaartfair has instead decided to close of just that one booth. What a load of bullshit! @indiaartfair sharam karo. Photos and video by @living_escaping
The police arrived at the the NSIC Exhibition Ground in Okhla after a complaint was filed with regards to these paintings that were put on display.
Various posters by different artists were also tied together with threads that reflected the protests at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.
Musicians also sang 'Hum Dekhenge' at the art fair and it was then, that the Delhi Police arrived and stalled the performance. While speaking to the Quint, Gargi Chandola, an artist who was part of the exhibition, said:
This is a festival of solidarity and celebrating women who have come out on the streets. No CAA, NRC or NPR has been mentioned. We just wrote slogans and songs on the imagery, which is beautiful and touching. One of the slogans was ‘Hum Ek Hain’ (We are one.) Our tears of emotion have turned into tears of disappointment.
It’s very unfortunate. When the police arrived, we thought that at least, they would want to know what is written on the posters. The police said they had got three PCR Calls. The India Art Fair management should have supported the artists.
Myna Mukherjee, the curator for the exhibition that was cordoned off, was also upset by the attitude of the organisers and they didn't speak up, she said:
India Art Fair organisers don’t seem to have a spine whatsoever. Police were more fair to us than the organiser folks. We deferred to the fair’s rules. There was no sloganeering. We talked of unity, resurgence and solidarity, and women’s leadership.
Some people on social media were also upset by this incident. Here's what they had to say:
Oh No, does that happened to #IndiaArtFair That's actually sad part on art world. Why they have problem with such posters etc— The Indian Art (@TheIndianArt) February 2, 2020
They couldn’t show up at JNU for over three hours. Shame on IAF too for not defending!— abhinit khanna (@abhinitk) February 2, 2020
Bystanders complained women in hijabs at a booth at India art fair were using calligraphy on a community mural.— Aparna Jain (@Aparna) February 3, 2020
Police shut down booth.
Mural had lines like ‘hum ek hain.’
India. Where ‘goli maron salon ko’ as a slogan has police and citizen pass but hum ek hain doesn’t. pic.twitter.com/6Bv0HPOXo0
Pathetic— Sarod Chandra (@ChandraSarod) February 2, 2020
The BJP is even scared of art! “Shaheen' Exhibit at India Art Fair Dismantled by Police” https://t.co/mJiQN1eHy8— Rupa Gulab (@rupagulab) February 3, 2020
They further went on to say that the organisers were informed only after the police arrived at the venue. The art fair was held from 30th January to 2nd February 2020.