KNMA is conducting an art camp to ‘expose students’ to contemporary art in Baramulla
Don’t know about the human rights violations, says KNMA
Srinagar: Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi in association with the Indian Army has invited 50 students from four different schools of Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district to a 4 day Art camp titled ‘IMAGINARIUM 2018’.
According to KNMA’s Facebook page, the camp meant “to expose the students to modern and contemporary art” as “due to difficult situations in the valley, there is a common concern of lack of resources and awareness about art.”
In the time of Sadbhavna, however, the association of the Indian Army with the camp is being questioned on the grounds that the camp is meant to ‘whitewash the violence’ executed in Kashmir.
“So just what the f*** is the KNMA doing in partnership with the Indian Army to promote some horrible whitewashing of the violence of Indian military Occupation of Kashmir with a programme called ‘Imaginarium’ in Baramulla?” an artist and writer based in India wrote on Facebook.
Public Relations Manager, KNMA, Jijo Jose said that the idea to arrange a camp for the children in Baramulla was developed in the month of April. Like other workshops it conducts in colleges and schools, he said, Baramulla was also chosen.
“We had discussed the issue and someone from the army said that earlier in Kashmir the theatre and other art forms were flourishing, but then it started dying. So, in association with the army, we thought about conducting a programme where the children can learn various techniques. Simultaneously, they can also do theatre,” said Jose.
The three day camp, according to Jose, has students from St. Joseph School, Guru Nanak School and Kendriya Vidyalaya from Baramulla, and DPS.
KNMA has also collaborated with a ‘50-year-old local theatre group Mehboob Culture Society.’
“Fifty other students from the same schools have been selected to take part in the theatre workshops,” KNMA had mentioned on its Facebook page.
While some Facebook users thanked KNMA for coming to Kashmir, for making the students understand the basic techniques of modern and contemporary Art, some says that KNMA, by working for and with the Indian Army is covering the atrocities.
“I have heard a lot of people in the Indian art World deliver pious homilies about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Which is great. But when a leading private Museum like KNMA explicitly and openly enters into a collaboration with the Indian Army in Kashmir you hear a deafening silence from the same quarters. That tells you a lot, doesn’t it?” writes an artist on his social media.
KNMA however defends the collaboration with the army.
Asked about why the army’s involvement was chosen, given the reports about Human Rights Violations committed by it in Kashmir, the Public Relations Manager says, “Army is not associated with violence. It is associated with keeping peace and ensuring that everything is in place. The army is a body in Kashmir placed there by the government of India. They are helping the schools which we tied up with. I don’t know about the violations. We did it for the benefit of children in Baramulla area. We have taken feedback from all the students. They have enjoyed and they have asked us to come back again.”