Feb 06, 2013 at 06:42pm IST

The body has always been revered as a form of art: Ina Puri

Is art under siege in India? Art curator Ina Puri joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. If art is to be dismissed in similar manner, then what would happen to the different temple structures and other archeological sites? Asked by: EMathew

The body has always been revered as a form of art: Ina Puri

Is art under siege in India?

A. This is exactly the concern....temple art and sculpture in India defies the naked body since time immemorial. Some of the most important archaeological sites and temple structures such as Khajuraho have some of the most exquisite art forms.

Q. Do you think lessening political radicalisation and increasing religious radicalisation has led us to this day? Asked by: Animesh Ganguly

A. That certainly seems to be the case. In this particular instance the exhibition being targeted is looking at art history over the last century with an intent to document. It is a serious effort, not intended to titillate. Political parties are misconstruing its purpose.

Q. As a nation we have always imbibed different cultures that landed on our shores. Are we on the way to intolerance of cultures and ideas? Asked by: EMathew

A. If we are, then this is a good time to take stock and review our reactions. Surely there can be a dialogue rather than a knee-jerk acrimonious reaction.

Q. Is art and literature becoming the pawns in the hands of religion? Asked by: EMathew

A. Surely, that's because the public is a willing audience ready to take sides without really examining the real issue, just responding to the hype.

Q. Why artist people enjoy depicting someone as nude? Is that the only art which they can think, or is it their mental weakness? Why is everytime a religion is targeted by artist to show their so called 'out of the box' idea? Are they only hungry about cheap publicity? Asked by: ameena

A. If you were to look at the history of art, you would realize that the body has always been revered as a form of art. The body is not to be ashamed of, and a lot of artists attempt to portray the body in aesthetic terms.

Q. Is Indian society becoming too intolerant for creative arts to thrive? Asked by: Harry

A. The fact that we are in a dialogue right now proves that there is still scope.....Unlike other repressive societies where any kind of creative freedom is taboo, we atleast have a society where we can voice our diverse opinions.

Q. Is art under siege in India? Asked by: Isha

A. Absolutely not....the recently concluded India Art Fair is proof that we can have a platform where plural voices can be heard. There were all kinds of art works, including some that addressed provocative issues, were publicly displayed. It was attended by people from different strata of society who engaged with the work in a positive way.

Q. Why is it that, under the garb of artistic freedom, many think they have a licence to do anything and everything, without having regard to sentiments of millions. I cannot in my wildest of dreams imagine my gods to be nude, there is a limit....will he draw a nude picture of his mother and sister? Asked by: S ESHWAR

A. We live in a democracy where creative freedom is allowed as is dissent -- everyone is allowed their personal opinion and creative expression. Art is a self-absorbed process, the product may offend sentiments but we do not know if the artist means to hurt or offend.

Q. Everywhere in the civilised world, the government goes full force to protect constitutional guarantees like freedom of speech and expression. But here appeasement seems to be the only motto. Asked by: Gangapati Rao

A. Agree with you, but we live in a plural society where the government - one hopes- works to maintain peace on many fronts. However, many a time, a big deal is made of creative expression. An exhibition depicting the nude female body in purely artistic form is banned in a city where women are not safe on the streets. What should be the priority of the government and Delhi's citizens?

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