The rude snubbing of veteran actor-director Amol Palekar during his speech at a National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) event recently, evoked shock and outrage. In the video that has now gone viral, one can see that Palekar’s speech was interrupted by organisers of the event the moment he began criticising the Ministry of Culture.
Palekar, was cut off by curator Jesal Thacker and artist Suhas Bahulkar among others while delivering his speech during the inauguration of the works of artist Prabhakar Barwe. In the video, curator Jesal Thacker can be seen repeatedly interrupting and asking Palekar to stick to talking only about Prabhakar Barwe.
While addressing a press conference on the incident, the actor expressed his shock over the reactions of fellow artists present at the event.
Here’s a look at the profiles of Jesal Thacker and Suhas Bahulkar, whose interruptions during the speech especially left Palekar “shocked and deeply hurt.”
Curator of the programme where the incident took place, Jesal Thacker holds a degree in painting from Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai. Thacker chose to pursue scholarship in art rather than practice and founded Bodhana in 2005.
Bodhana eventually turned into Bodhana Arts and Research Foundation, a non-profit organisation that documents, archives, analyses and exhibits work of modern and contemporary artists. The first among the key exhibitions that Thacker has organised at Bodhana included the paintings and literary texts of Shankar Palshikar, Vasudev Gaitonde, Vasant Wankhede and Prabhakar Barwe.
Jesal Thacker was appointed as a curatorial director for Percept Art between 2012 to 2015. She went on to assist art critic and curator Ranjit Hoskote for the first India Pavilion participation in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and then artist Bose Krishnamachari for the first Yinchuan Biennale in 2016.
When questioned about her reason for interrupting Amol Palekar’s speech, Thacker told India Today that she had no intention of opposing him. Thacker added that she only wanted Palekar to speak about Prabhakar Barwe, in whose memory the event was organised.
“You need to see the whole video, he did speak. He spoke about NGMA and its issues and when I felt that he was going deeper, I requested him to come back to Barwe. He made his point about NGMA and at that time I didn’t stop him. When he went into details, I just felt that now he can go into details of Barwe and not get into details of the issue that don’t concern that particular evening. That’s it, nothing else.”Jesal Thacker to India Today
Born in 1954 in Pune, Suhas Bahulkar was the chairperson of the NGMA previous advisory committee in Mumbai. Bahulkar too is an alumnus of Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai. He obtained a diploma in painting from the prestigious institution in 1975 and worked there as a lecturer till 1995.
Bahulkar’s works have been widely recognised in India as well as internationally. His works can be found at the Supreme Court of India, Bombay High Court, Rashtrapati Bhavan and Reserve Bank of India among other locations. Suhas Bahulkar’s paintings have been exhibited across the world in cities like Paris, Hong Kong, London and New York among other locations.
Some of his achievements include, being awarded a fellowship by The Asiatic Society, Mumbai, and the DLitt degree by the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth.
Artists, Politicians Condemn NGMA
Following the incident, artists, the Opposition and the ‘aam aadmi’ has taken to social media to share their outrage over the incident.