Managaluru: Even as the fifth Kudla Kala Mela, a mega art exhibition, ended here on Sunday, there are still no takers in the government level for more than a two-decade-old demand of the artists to have a government art gallery in the city to exhibit art works.
B. Ganesha Somayaji, senior artist and founder president of the Karavali Chitrakala Chavadi, which has been hosting the mela by bringing various artists on a platform, said that the artists so far have met 10 Deputy Commissioners and MLAs and Ministers pressing for a government art gallery here. Memoranda submitted to elected representatives and the officials concerned have not borne any fruit.
It was about two years ago when A.B. Ibrahim was the Deputy Commissioner discussions were held on re-arranging an old heritage building on the premises of the office of the Deputy Commissioner for hosting art exhibitions. The aspects relating to having a museum related to the Tulu Nadu culture with a provision for a mini hall for hosting workshops were discussed. It had been decided to collect minimum entry fee for the museum to meet part of the maintenance expenditure. But nothing moved to make the matters discussed a reality. Mr. Somayaji said that if the artists got at least a 900-sq ft area for the gallery, they could exhibit at least 30 paintings.
Dinesh Holla, an artist and joint secretary of the mela, said that Udupi and Dakshina Kannada has produced internationally known artists such as K.K. Hebbar, Rajaram Talluru and Sudarshana Shetty.
The artists in the city have been forced to depend on private galleries. Budding artists and those from the economically poor background cannot bear the rentals of art galleries. A government art gallery will help give exposure to more artists, he said.
“Art exhibitions are needed for the growth of artists. There should be reviews and criticism. Lack of opportunities curtailed talent of many budding artists,” he said.
Mangaluru and Udupi put together have at least 20 art schools with about 350 artists of whom many were professionals, Mr. Somayaji said.
Mr. Holla said that Mangaluru had market for art works after Bengaluru, Mysuru and Hubballi-Dharwad. Devadas Shetty, a Mumbai-based artist, said that Mangaluru urgently needed a government art gallery.
Meanwhile, an official of the Department of Kannada and Culture told The Hindu that there was no proposal before the department now to set up an art gallery in the city.
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