Balbir Krishan was peacefully filming sound bites about his latest exhibit at the Lalit Kala Akademi yesterday in New Delhi when a masked man entered the building, smashed one of his works and attacked him. Krishan, who is a double amputee, is currently giving his first solo show, an exhibition of works on LGBT themes, in the Indian capital city.
The works are hardly erotic on the scale of Tom of Finland but have still raised the ire of religious Hindus, reports the Times of India:
Krishan, 38, from a village called Bijrol in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, had received several threats over phone on Wednesday. The calls—made from phone booths—accused the artist, himself homosexual, of “spreading” homosexuality in the country.
According to Krishan, the caller said… “You are determined to ruin Hinduism.”
Before that, posters advertising his exhibition at Garhi studios and near Jamia Milia Islamia, were ripped and burnt.
Some of Krishan’s able-bodied friends pursued the attacker, who managed to escape. Closed-circuit cameras were out of tape and did not record the assailant fleeing and the footage above didn’t capture his face.
Krishan says the exhibit was dedicated to the late gay artist Bhupen Khakhar and to M.F. Husain, the “Picasso of India,” whose sensual depictions of Hindu deities earned the wrath of extremists and led to his self-imposed exile in Quatar. (Krishan’s attacker allegedly shouted: “We chased Husain away, you are nothing” during the assault.)
Though Krishan’s works were moved from the gallery, he’s not deterred—the exhibit will continue at Triveni Kala Sangam in Connaught Place starting Friday.