Loyola College in Chennai apologises for ‘offensive’ art exhibition

Chennai: The war between the BJP and Loyola College in the city heated up yesterday and today regarding an art exhibition put up on its premises as part of its Veedi Viruthu Vizha, leading to the institution issuing an apology.

The political outfit was set to file a complaint against the institution over the alleged disrespect shown by it to ‘Hindu religion, Prime Minister Modi and Bharat Mata’ at the festival organised to promote folk arts.

BJP national secretary, H Raja, had actually called for “all Hindu nationalists and patriots” to assemble at the DGP office to file a petition against the college management for displaying “derogatory” and “demeaning” paintings at its two-day event – Veedi Viruthu Vizha – on reviving traditional art forms held at the college on 19 and 20 January.

Over the weekend, social media users shared images from the art exhibition, where derogatory drawings of Bharat Mata, in the context of the #MeToo Movement, and Prime Minister Modi, were displayed.

Taking to Twitter this morning, Raja called for action against Loyola College for offending Hindu sentiments. Raja tweeted, “VCK, Communist, Naxalite and Christian conversion groups have joined together in a planned way to attack Hindu religion and our nation at Chennai Loyola College.”

However, when News Today contacted Loyola College for its views, the faculty and management expressed their backing for students who displayed the art and said “art must be viewed as art”.

On the paintings on Bharat Mata, in the context of the #MeToo Movement, a professor said, “The women who have been harassed are all children of Bharata Mata and the painting showed what they went through. There is nothing wrong in that.”

The lack of response from the college management did not go down well the BJP, though.

President of BJYM, Vinoj P Selvam, also tweeted: ‘True colour of certain fringe groups coming to light. Unfortunate to find #LoyolaCollege to have organised offensive art exhibition abusing our PM Hindu Gods, BJP & Bharat Mata.’

Tendering its apology, Loyola College today issued a press release that “we are pained and saddened that the venue to conduct a cultural event has been misused”.

According to coordinator, Art & Literary Unit, LSSS, Loyola College, Dr Kaleswaran, “We would like to reiterate that we have immediately removed the exhibits the moment it was brought to our notice.”

He said, “We acknowledge our lapse and apologise for the insurmountable hurt this has caused.”