Is Jawahar Kala Kendra moving away from the culture & art of Rajasthan?

The ultimate hub and center of art, craft, culture, theatre – Jaipur’s own Jawahar Kala Kendra, is seeing winds of change, that are perhaps coming at a big cost.

Around 150 artists from all over Rajasthan including Padma Awardees staged a protest against the Rajasthan government for unlawfully altering the constitution of Jawahar Kala Kendra (JKK) the art and Culture centre of Jaipur.

Around 150 artists hailing from all genres and age groups ranging from 18 years to 80 years staged a protest by performing poetry, sketching, clay modelling, singing, nukkad natak and and raised slogans outside the Jawahar Kala Kendra. Led by Rajasthan’s Padma awardees Shakir Ali, Tilak Gitai and Padma Shree Arjun Prajapati, the artists aimed to highlight the neglect of Rajasthan’s own art forms and artists by the management of JKK.

The primary concerns of the protesting artists was the unlawful alteration done to the original constitution of JKK, the state’s foremost art center to accommodate unqualified members and neglect of state government and JKK’s management towards its architecture by tampering it.

Amit Kalla, Renowned Visual artist and Refined Hindi Poet told Jaipur Beat ‘JKK is one of the master pieces of architecture which was designed by famous architect Charles Correa. The design of this art institution is taught in the best Architecture colleges but the management of JKK has ruined it by making use of glass and plastic, materials discarded by its architect Correa.’

Another big reason for the protest is the transformation of the 4 main art galleries at JKK into souvenir shops where products mainly target tourists and not relevant to Rajasthan’s art & culture.

Speaking to DH, Ranvir Singh, National President of IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) explained, “As per the original constitution of JKK, there is a clause for a General Council which clearly states that the centre should have heads of three academies (music, art and literature) and national and international scholars of eight art disciplines as its members. This has been terribly revoked and the new governing council list consists of only two artists of Rajasthan and is dominated by industrialists who are least concerned about art forms and are mostly forthcoming in money generation.”

At the protest site, Jaipur’s theatre artist Himanshu Jhankal presented a small skit based on the altered constitution of JKK, whose governing council is headed by Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

Another Padam Shri artist Arjun Prajapati who made a folk portrait in clay to highlight the neglect of Rajasthan’s own artists lamented, “Jawahar Kala Kendra was known for guiding the artists but now within a span of 2 years, it has converted into a sheer event company and a hub of nepotism. Its new Director General and her staff are exhausting funds to organise lavish events instead of honing the local talent.”

Congress party’s national general secretary and Ex Chief Minister of Rajasthan – Ashok Gehlot also expressed his concerns and opinions in his tweet ‘Jawahar Kala Kendra was established to encourage State’s art and artists and not to make them a spectator of events.’

Memorandum to Chief Minister

Artists also gave a collective memorandum to Additional Director General of JKK which was addressed to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who heads the governing council. Memorandum also shares an instance in which the architect Charles Correa’s expressed displeasure over the tampering done with JKK, months before he passed away in 2015.

It also raises concern over government’s alleged privatisation plans of the city’s old theatre Ravindra Manch and non-appointment of committees of various academies in Rajasthan.


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