Venkatappa Art Gallery (VAG) in Namma Bengaluru is unsafe and is to be razed,rebuilt. The gallery is situated in Bengaluru, in the vicinity of Cubbon Park and next to the Bangalore Museum as well as the Vishvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. It attracts artists and art lovers from all over Karnataka.
Who is Venkatappa?
Venkatappa, a nenowned artist, was born in 1886 in Mysuru. He studied fine arts in Chamarajendra Technical Institute, Mysuru from 1902 to 1908. He took up advanced studied in Fine Arts and Crafts in Kolkata under the guidance of Percy Bown and Abanindranath Tagore from 1909 to 1916. Venkatappa died in 1965.
History of Gallery
The Government of Mysuru had decided in 1966 that a gallery/museum was needed that could hold the paintings, musical instruments and plaster of paris, bas reliefs which formed the collection of Karnataka’s most famous artist, K.Venkatappa (1886–1965), a pupil of Abanindranath Tagore. Thus the birth of Venkatappa Art Gallery.
The Art Gallery came into being with the foundation stone being laid by the then Chief Minister S.Nijalingappa on 24 November 1967. It took a long time to complete. Artists who were frustrated with the delays went on an innovative protest on the footpath in front of Bible Society demanding the gallery space be finished in 1971. Artists included G.S Shenoy, Bhaskar Rao, Ramesh Rao, Acharya and Punam Chattaya. The building was finally completed in 1975.
The Gallery was intended to function both as a museum holding the works of K. Venkatappa as well as becoming a space for artists from all over Karnataka to use for their arts practice. Venkatappa Gallery is commonly mistaken for the Bangalore Museum as they both stand next to each other and yet they are very different. Venkatappa Art Gallery continues to be a space that accesses the contemporary holdings within it a museum as well as a gallery. Something quite rare in the history of the structure of museums.
But now the building of Venkatappa Art Gallery is unsafe and is said to be in “danger” of caving in. It is not even 50 years since it was constructed by the Public works department. Worried about the health of this 43 year old building, the Government of Karnataka has decided to demolish it and rebuild it.
Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh said the idea was to give the Venkatappa Art Gallery a complete makeover. According to him the building of VAG is slowly sinking as there is a moat around it. The water in the moat has weakened the foundation of the building. The building has developed huge cracks.
The department of Heritage, Museum and Archaeology is in the process of writing to the PWD department to submit plans and designs for the proposed new buildings.