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Straight Answers (Interview with Laxman Shreshta)

Straight Answers (Interview with Laxman Shreshta)

Author: Nupur Mahajan
Publication: The Times of India
Date: April 3, 2001
On Indian artists not being accepted globally

Q. What is wrong with contemporary Indian artists, considering the deplorable reviews they got after the Tate show in London?
A. Everything is all right. Indians down the ages have been the best artists, and this continues to date. Western art world wrote the art history and never included Indian art. Its' been a conspicuous thing. Though we have been working seriously, they blindly put it as Indian artists have nothing to say. But ten years down the line they'll wake up and realise that all the art is elsewhere.

Q. Is it a question of lack of experience, or lack of skill?
A. Neither. Indian artists are the most educated and dynamic. We do not believe in fifteen minutes of fame and in the western fascination with 'isms'. According to them (the West) Indian art froze after Harappa.

Q. how can a new beginning be made in the Indian art scene?
A. The Indian art scene is already opening; the beginning has already been made. The country need to get organised and we need a solid base for art appreciation. Galleries need to be on a surer footing, and the art market needs to expand. In fact ten artists including myself, Tyeb, Ram Kumar, Pyne, and Husain are going to New York for a show on May 11.

Q. Where do Indian artists stand on a global scale?
A. They are at par with the best in the world.

Q. What of the Indian schools of art? Should there be stress on academism or inspiration?
A. There was a time when the Baroda school was ruling, and the stamp of the teacher was very strong. This is changing. Academism curbs freedom, and there have always been rebels. At the same time schools give you a solid back-ground in art history. There needs to be a balance.

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