The Tihar School of Art and an art gallery on the Tihar Jail premises were inaugurated by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma, on Wednesday. This initiative is taken under the recently organised five-day National Art Camp at Tihar Jail titled Tihar: Kalabhiyan 2017. This inauguration took place at the conclusion ceremony of the National art workshop which started on 19 August at Tihar Jail no. 2. Here Lalit Kala Akademi showcased the digital reproductions of artworks by famous artists such as A. Alphonso, Bhupen Khakhar, F.N. Souza, G.R. Santosh, K.G. Subramanyan, Manjit Bawa, Tyeb Mehta and so on from its permanent collection.

Inaugurating the Tihar Art School and art gallery Sharma congratulated the Tihar Jail Administration and Lalit Kala Akademi and said that this is a commendable initiative taken by these two institutions that will allow the prisoners from across the country to express themselves through art. He said, “Art is known to unbiased healing effect on individuals and as a therapy it plays a vital role in transforming persons. It allows a person to bloom and reform in the positive direction. The Lalit Kala Akademi through this endeavour, wish to change the perception and treatment of the inmates as outcastes and pariahs of society. This initiative has been taken with intent of showing the humane and creative side of the many who could well be mere victims of peculiar set of unforeseen hostile circumstances themselves.” Sharma also visited the Art Workshop at Jail no. 2 and encouraged the participant inmates. Appreciating the artworks created in this workshop he said that every talent deserves a chance, and Tihar & Lalit Kala Akademi have done the same through this initiative. “It is a historical day for art and society,” Sharma added.

Director General (Prison) of Tihar, Shri Sudheer Yadav thanked Lalit Kala Akademi for its cooperation in organising this event. He said that this is not an event only for prisoners but also it is by them. He said that he has observed how prisoners, even after completing their terms, used to, forcefully, live in miserable conditions because of society’s mindset for them. He hoped that the perspective and thoughts of the society will change in a positive manner after this initiative.

Sharing his personal experience Shri C.S. Krishna Setty, Administrator Lalit Kala Akademi, told that he was also in jail for fourteen months during J.P. Movement, and there he had met Shri Lal Krishna Advani. Knowing that he was an artist, Advani had asked him to teach him some drawing and painting, and after that Mr. Setty had taught Shri Advani painting and caricature for three months on daily basis. He remembered that he had seen a board outside the Bellauri Central Jail having “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future” written on it, that changed his life forever. Appreciating the “Tihar Kalabhiyan” he told that the Akademi brought together many well-known artists from around the country at Tihar, who taught art to approximately 80 prisoners from Tihar and other jails across the nation.

The Lalit Kala Akademi has also donated its publications to the Tihar School of Art for the reference to the inmates. The Akademi has also donated films made on eminent artists for conducting film screenings for the inmates.

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