Priyasri Art Gallery presents ‘Judgement in the Trial of Akbar Padamsee’
The exhibition talks about the landmark 1954 court case, a seminal moment in the life of Akbar Padamsee.
Supported by the veteran artist’s wife Bhanu Padamsee, the exhibition chronicles the 1954 court case, a seminal moment in the life of Akbar Padamsee, in which he was acquitted in the Lower Court and once again in the Higher Court.
On his older brother Nicky's advice, Akbar returned from Paris for his debut solo show. Akbar, then 26, was charged under section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for two paintings – Lovers 1 and Lovers 2 – that were exhibited in his debut show at the Jehangir Art Gallery. Both paintings – currently in the possession of two established art collectors – showed a man’s hand on a woman’s breast. The instinctive expression of love on canvas had been labelled as obscene and seized by the police. But a defiant Akbar wouldn’t take this lying down and was keen to fight the battle for artistic freedom.
This story is retold by arts journalist Reema Gehi Desai using original archival material (diary notes, court judgements, newspaper clippings, police correspondence and letters) that was meticulously documented by Akbar’s sister-in-law, Shahbibi Padamsee. One of the highlights of the show is a short theatrical performance – directed by Quasar Thakore Padamsee – told through the voice of Shahbibi, sharing important vignettes of the year-long trial.
Stepping beyond traditional exhibitions, the gallery will be video-projecting Lovers 2. The projection will be accompanied by another original work from the show, Man in Cityscape, 1953. Incidentally, the painting, which is at present in the possession of a leading art collector in Mumbai, was published on the invite of Akbar’s debut show at Jehangir Art Gallery, where he had displayed two of the Lovers’ series. The second half of the exhibition, ‘Chronicle of Lovers’ Series in the 1980s’— comprises works from the Lovers’ series in the 1980s and 2017.
Duration: January 9 - 30
Time: 11 am - 7 pm
Venue: Priyasri Art Gallery, Worli, Mumbai