Goa art fest lifts ban on CAA, NRC-linked exhibits

Hyderabad NRC CAA Protest
Asaduddin Owaisi in Darussalam Hyderabad NRC CAA Protest

Panaji, Dec 22 Amid criticism from civil society for blocking public access to two art installations with oblique references to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), organisers of the Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa opened the exhibits for public viewing on Sunday, the last day of the event.

Speaking to IANS after the two exhibits involving Assamese Miyah poetry and a public graffiti, both of which bore references to the legislation, noted contemporary artist Sudarshan Shetty said, “I am happy that all the works are available for viewers on the last day”.

On Wednesday, two artworks by Shetty, which made oblique references to turmoil in the Northeast and the CAA, were abruptly shut for viewing.

One of the exhibits involved electronic broadcasting of Miyah poetry, by Dalit and some other poets from the Northeast, which articulates anxieties faced by the Muslim community in the region, which is most affected by protests against the CAA and the NRC, was put off limits on the fourth day of the festival.

The other exhibit, barred for visitors at the festival, involved innovative showcasing of ink ‘upcycled’ from carbon from air-pollution emissions and enables carbon-negative printing and production.

As part of the immersive experience offered by the curator, visitors could scribble graffitis of their choice with the help of pens loaded with the unique black ink on empty canvases.

Shetty, in a statement, had expressed pain and bemoaned the lack of freedom in art spaces.

Organisers of the festival, who have refrained from commenting on the controversy, were not available for comment.

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