Art Gallery for City
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Art Gallery for City

January 6, 2024

Why not Old Exhibition Building?

Sir,

Apropos the letter by K.B. Ganapathy calling for providing the city with a world class art gallery (SOM dated Dec.23), I would like to bring to the notice of people concerned a few points pertaining to the plight of artists of this city who wished to conduct exhibitions of their creations. It is nearly four decades since the artists have been deprived of a good gallery — during the days prior to the shifting of Dasara Expo from its grand original place to present location. The city could boast of a majestic gallery (that formed a part of Old Exhibition Building) at that time built specifically for the purpose of art expos.

This gallery consisted of two long, well-designed halls, located on either side of the entrance to Exhibition building (facing Cheluvamba Hospital) on Irwin road. The halls were provided with walls, in front of which the exhibits were being displayed, so constructed as to receive the best possible lighting from the huge glassed openings, all along their length running parallel to the road.

During Dasara exhibition, these halls used to host Fine Arts and Craft sections and a couple of other stalls. During the rest of the year, they were being made available for artists. Unfortunately, in 1983 (or so), even these halls were transferred to Mysore Medical College, along with the rest of the place, thus depriving the city of a facility that cannot probably be constructed again so well.

With a view to fill in the void of absence of a community facility, over the years, a few private players in city have built small galleries for conducting exhibitions, meeting only minimum requirements. I recall with gratitude the services rendered by N.B. Kaverappa of Bharani Art Gallery, L. Shivalingappa of Mysore Art Gallery, Pratima Gallery of Ramsons Kala Pratishtana, Kalaniketana School and a few others for taking interest in supporting art-related activities.

Artists have also found some sort of consolation by conducting expos in places like ‘Bidadi Mane’ in Mysore Palace premises, Institution of Engineers, Wellington Lodge, CAVA Hall and others, although with very little facilities.

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A couple of artists have even conducted exhibitions in open spaces like Kukkarahalli Lake, as if to protest non-availability of a good gallery. It was some time in early 2000s that M.G. Sadanandaiah, when he was Deputy Director of Kannada and Culture Department in Mysuru, took personal interest in building Suchitra Art Gallery inside Kalamandira premises.

Built with a very small amount of grants, even this gallery lacks facilities to meet the requirements of a good art exhibiting space. Even though it has catered to the needs to a small extent, it stands more as a testimony to the apathy of our men in power towards the artist community of this “Cultural Capital.” 

It is heartening to note that KBG has opened up a Pandora’s box by putting forward a demand for a gallery befitting the city. I only hope, the artists and the organisations promoting art, come out vociferously supporting the demand and putting pressure on Government to act early.

In my personal opinion, the facility available in the Old Exhibition Building should be claimed back and developed into a world class art gallery.

– Yadupathi Putty, Krishnamurthypuram, 28.12.2023

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