A private museum official in India has been sacked in the latest instance of the country’s continued crackdown and retaliation against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and critics of his politics. Sandip K. Lewis, former curatorial research and publication manager at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) in Noida, said in a Facebook post criticizing an art exhibition commemorating Prime Minister Modi’s “propaganda” radio program, 7 He was officially dismissed on May 5th. At the National Museum of Modern Art (NGMA), Delhi. In the wake of his dismissal, artists, educators and scholars across South Asia rallied in support of Lewis, signing petitions and even refusing to exhibit at KNMA.
of Yana Shakti: Collective Power The group exhibition was curated by curator Arka Pande and curatorial advisor, KNMA founder and art collector Kiran Nadar, to commemorate the 100th broadcast of Modi’s monthly radio programme. man ki bart (“Speech from the Heart”) in which he responds to the concerns of the Indian people and expresses his views on issues on national subjects. The exhibition opens on April 30th and consists of works by 12 artists according to specific themes from around the world. man ki bart Areas include water conservation, climate change, yoga and Ayurveda (ancient Indian holistic medical practice), and Indian agriculture, among others.
one day PM Modi’s visit to NGMA was highly publicizedLewis shared his criticism of the exhibition and the impact of Nadar’s involvement in the May 15 incident. facebook postreverberate Feelings shared with many others who blamed the show “Propaganda” endorsement Through the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which holds the majority, Prime Minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist government was established. Prime Minister Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party internationally criticized For promoting Islamophobia, misogyny, and casteism by encouraging targeted misinformation, suppression of rights, vigilante violence, and mob attacks.
“Because all of us in the art world still seem to believe in one way or another in Schindler’s list. A cunning but good businessman carries with him a list of the chosen people to be rescued from genocide, It’s a dark but comforting bedtime tale, in which Lewis explained Nadar’s position as an arts philanthropist and the German Nazis who allegedly saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust. He drew connections with businessman Oskar Schindler.
“As the day of the Deluge and Purification draws near, they may try desperately by any means necessary to enter the chosen list prepared by the emerging forces of the new artistic world and board Modi’s Ark. Those left behind may perish forever,” Lewis said. Posting continued.
Lewis, who has been employed by KNMA since 2019, said: highly allergenic Within days, the museum’s marketing and press officers reached out to ask questions about the post. On May 31, the museum’s human resources officer emailed Lewis saying he had violated the terms of his employment contract through “disparaging and tasteless comments about the Kiran Nadar Museum and its leadership” and that he had to turn in. Stated. An explanation outlining “why disciplinary action should not be taken” [the museum] Against [him]Asked not to come to work until an explanation is considered, Lewis confirmed: highly allergenic Salary was paid during suspension.
Submitted by Lewis his explanation On May 31, he defended his right to free speech under the Indian government and his duty to criticize as a member of the museum’s curatorial team. He also asked for clarification as to which clause in his own post violated his employment contract. Lewis was then sent a letter of termination on July 5, which Lewis said he “didn’t accept because he chose to ignore it.” [his] and could not clarify where the contract was breached. Lewis took the issue public on Facebook, and the story began circulating long ago. elegant Nationwide headline.
Neither KNMA, NGMA nor HR responded. highly allergenic Requests for various comments.
Since Lewis became public, artists, educators and scholars from across South Asia and the Diaspora have rallied in solidarity around him.Hundreds have signed letter in support of statement Dozens of people issued statements demanding Lewis’ return, in opposition to Lewis’ “arbitrary dismissal”.Face-to-face with renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist, artist and activist Shahidul Alam withdrew from An exhibition that was scheduled to take place later this month at KNMA.
in him withdrawal letterwas also provided to highly allergenicArum noted that Lewis’ criticism and subsequent dismissal “clearly take a stand.”[s] Ms Nadar, and the KNMA Association are on the wrong side of history. I would like to distance myself from that position. ”
“I stand by the artists and vigorously protest the unjust, unethical and arbitrary dismissal of Dr. He stated that he did not intend to exhibit the burnt but not burnt Exhibition, now on Chicago’s Lightwood 659 At KNMA until Saturday, July 15th.
Amid mounting pressure to deal with the museum and get Lewis back, the former director of research and publications said: highly allergenic The possibility that he collected much during his four years at the museum and used what he learned to “develop alternative discourses in contemporary art, academically and systematically, from the point of view of the political left”. intends to explore further.
“We will reach out to everyone who expressed their solidarity and offered their support so that we can all work together to explore and recognize what needs to be done,” Lewis concluded.