There was a buzz around the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda yesterday after a talk presented by John Clark in which he discussed issues related to the politics of biennials and the role of the curator as a decision maker. With the same artists endorsed as cultural icons through cliques that bond together, it can be suggested that the idea to consolidate personal arguments as flagships of contemporary cultural ideologue becomes the hidden objective. Though I myself did not attend this talk, I was informed by my colleagues the structure of the debate. These observations aren't news to any of us, but political correctness appears to have silenced relevant critiques from occurring around such issues, perhaps from the fear of "hurting the sentiments" of the well intentioned, shall we say! Sadly it appears that once again it takes a foreigner hand to set the cat amongst the pigeons for us and get these hidden spaces to have a little more light shed on them!
It is such an Indian tendency to stick to the chair of power! The obvious repetition of people who chair these selection committees for art meant for public viewing in prominent spaces are beginning to become like the Vatican's inner circle; where the old and decrepit posture as humble servants doing the will of "what's best for all mankind"! But do not be so fooled as to buy into these arguments. The startergising for personal agendas is transparent and clear for all to see. It may not be necessarily "evil mafias". However it certainly creates a dangerous cultural tunnel vision which alludes at an openness that in fact is completely absent in the methodologies that govern our current curatorial practices today.
Like a fretting mother hen I only hope that the incubation period that Contemporary Indian Art has withstood to grow to its present maturity, isn't carelessly smashed by the cunning fox that slinks about to plunder for its own satisfaction. I think we need to ask some pertinent questions and not fear the answers which may not be always flattering. Politically correct is becoming hugely boring and opiating; and the consequences of loosing the fire in our belly to make tame tigers of ourselves, fit only to jump through the hoops in the cultural parade of others, a frightening proposition to contemplate! Shiver me timbers....it scares the wits out of me!!!