faking adhimoolam, insulting all of us

Every day there are a couple of art shows going on in Chennai. A cause for celebration indeed! Art is appreciated, accepted, commercialized in the sense that it is now bought at fancy prices not for possessive pleasure but for a profitable investment profile! Good. 

When I ventured into making money out of art, 35 years ago, paintings  were sold but for peanuts. The big names could muster a couple of hundreds more than a novice who may have to sell at the price the buyer or the agent wanted. Now things have changed, the world is taking notice of Chennai Art. Hussein and Gujral, the Bengal masters, the Delhi-connected do still demand astronomical prices, but standing equally tall and important are some of the Chennai masters. Adhimoolam ,a pioneer, was one . He is no more

; therefore his paintings are even more valuable.

Anything  valuable runs the risk of being stolen. I would have been happy to know that thieves break in to steal a drawing or painting by adhi. If galleries report that they have insured his paintings in their custody for lakhs I would actually feel proud, but, now –

A reputed (?) gallery has taken a fake painting by some painter and tried to sell it on the net ( that is in public eye) as a painting by adhimoolam. The questions raised by the art fraternity are-

1.       Does the gallery not know what an original is and what a fake is?  If it cannot identify the work of a great artist, how does it evaluate the painting and price the same?

2.       If some artist wants to copy a master, it is considered fine, but if he is going to sign the picture in the master’s name it is a fraud.  Now having come to know the issue, what action has the gallery taken on the fake painter?

3.       From what I heard from anguished artists, the gallery has played odd in this issue. It has claimed the painting was sold/ returned to the painter/ destroyed  etc, when indignant family members and fellow artists approached them. This leads to the suspicion that the gallery aided and abetted  or even perpetrated the fraud.


Now, the artists have joined together and formed a forum to voice their grievances against the issue and also to form a protective body that would safeguard as well as defend their rights regarding creativity.

Copyright being a matter of academic acknowledgement in our country, the legal system pleads grey to this black situation. The existing laws being vague, cases are bound to be long drawn and perhaps inconclusive.

If we all become aware that artists and writers need to be acknowledged (and remunerated) for their works, maybe the system will soon change. I therefore use this blog to appeal to all (including those who buy pirated books on the platforms of Chennai) to just raise your voice in solidarity against this shameless vandalism of a gentleman-artist who is no more alive to be bemused(as he would have been).

Where do we register our protest? I frankly do not know. Maybe we can pick a magazine of our interest and write to them. Maybe we can get in touch with ravi Subramanian (poet-filmaker) or maruthu (artist) and ask them what to do next. they were present at and organising a meet regarding this issue. the forum is called `CHITRA EZUTHU’

this is an insult not only to the memory of the late adhimoolam, but to all of us. the greedy arrogance of the perpetrators of this crime is born out of their belief tht the public would never know what real art is. we need not be curators but we should never be offered spurious merchandise

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