Chennai

ASI gives artists a free hand to sketch

Freedom to express:The controversy began when artists were not allowed to sit with sketchbooks near monuments at Mamallapuram. —Photo: M. Moorthy  

After an artist from the city started a petition asking for the Archaeological Survey of India to allow sketching of historical monuments, the ASI has responded stating that except when usage of specific equipment is involved, artists are free to draw on the premises.

Ganapathy Subramanian, who had started a petition on Change.org asking the ASI to permit sketching at historical monuments, said that he had also filed a Right to Information (RTI) petition raising the same issue with the ASI.

In response to the RTI please, the ASI in a letter stated that as long as there are no camera-stands, stools, chairs, tables, large drawing boards, easels and any such equipment, there is no need to obtain permission.

“Initially, as artists, we set out to discover the basis of a rule. We were not given any concrete responses about why we were not able to get permission at a few places. An RTI was then filed and the response we have got is a reasonably sensible compromise,” he said.

The issue began when a group of artists from the Chennai Weekend Artists Association were not allowed to sit with their sketchbooks near the monuments at Mamallapuram. ASI officials had told the artists that permission had to be obtained as sketching would amount to ‘copying the structure’.

The artists subsequently raised objections about the long-winded process for obtaining permission for simply taking out a sketchbook and drawing and painting, when people were allowed to photograph and videograph the monuments on their mobile phones.

“The officials there had been unclear about the rules involved to obtain permission. It has however now been made clear that we are free to sketch unless there is heavy equipment involved, which we realise can become a bit of a public nuisance,” Mr. Ganapathy added.



Permission is not needed if tables, stools, easels and large drawing boards are not used



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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 7:17:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/asi-gives-artists-a-free-hand-to-sketch/article8484762.ece

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