State-of-the-art art gallery

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The Venkatapa Art Gallery located on Kasturba Road, one of the few places in the city where artists can showcase their work, has been in a deplorable state for some time now. The authorities concerned are not interested in maintaining the historic art gallery established in 1967.

The gallery is located next to the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. It attracts art lovers and tourists from all over Karnataka and beyond. Often, works were exhibited, artists performed and citizens frequented the gallery to get a glimpse of what was going on in the art world.

However, over the years the Venkatappa Art Gallery has been left to decay. with poor maintenance the place is slowly falling apart. The art gallery falls under the Department of archeology, museums and heritage; nothing has been done for the upkeep of the gallery lately.

Additionally, the artists pointed out that when covid-19 hit, they weren’t allowed to perform – even after the pandemic, when everything was back to normal, the place wasn’t open to artists.

After many discussions and requests, the artist Paramesh Jolad performed with few citizens present. Jolad said that during the post-lockdown period, when some of the artists went to the gallery to perform, they were told the facility had been closed for repairs; but nothing has been done even now.

Jolad added: “This problem has persisted for three years. We complained several times about the deplorable state of the place but no action was taken.

There is only one projector; artists have to play with one light. The elevator was dysfunctional, which is problematic for older people. The paint on the walls inside and outside has faded. The electrical panels inside are broken. This place was built for artists to exhibit their work and for the practice of art itself, but it has been largely neglected.

Sridhar Agalaya of the Venkatapa Art Gallery forum pointed out that no repair work had started and that the gallery was as it was in pre-covid times: “It seems that the government left it deliberately”, did he declare.

Meanwhile, Sunita Kumar of We Love Cubbon Park, pointed towards the ponds drying up the gallery premises. “The ponds do not receive water; they dry out. The Department of Horticulture retains water from Bal Bhavan. Water does not enter the pond from Bal Bhavan lotus pond. Garbage is dumped in the backyard of the art gallery; even the cement stones are damaged. Grasses grow wild and need to be pruned. A few rusty old geysers and metal rollers sit to one side. The place didn’t stay clean for long. »

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The gallery forum is now raising the issue on social media platforms to save the gallery.

Meanwhile, Bangalore Mirror has contacted the Commissioner of the Department of Archaeology, Museums and inheritance, Devaraju A. He said, “I am aware of the problems in the art gallery and have sent an engineer to check the problem. A detailed project report will be written and submitted to the tourism department. I also spoke to the tourism department and got a positive response from them to resolve the issues. We are short of funds. We need funds exclusively for the Venkatappa Art Gallery to carry out all the works. But we will manage all the work with the funds we currently have.

When asked why artists weren’t allowed to perform, he replied, “There are water leaks in the wall; this could become risky for artists. Therefore, we want to complete all the work and open it in one go.

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