Saturday, July 08, 2017

Air India art loot plot thickens: Another painter points towards plunder

New Delhi: The nightmare doesn't seem to end for Air India. After painter Jatin Das told India Today that his painting, 'Flying Apsara', that he'd made exclusively for the national carrier in 1991, had reached the open market, another painter has come forward to blame Air India of complete negligence.
"Air India bought my painting, Canal One, for Rs 400 in 1968 from an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai," Paramjit Singh told India Today on the phone from Shimla. "In 2013, when Air India was displaying select works in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, I asked them where my painting was. They said they couldn't find it," the 82-year-old lamented.
Paramjit Singh told us that it was then Director of NGMA, Rajeev Lochan, who'd informed him that his painting was not to be found. Singh's wife, Arpita's work for Air India though was showcased at the same exhibition, which was the only time Air India put out the best of its collection for public viewing under one roof.
India Today has been relentlessly investigating this unfortunate plunder of the nation's wealth that seems to have stumbled out after Jatin Das' revelation.
We got in touch with Pooja Acharya, art curator cum artist, who got in touch with Das on June 18 to authenticate his work "Flying Apsara", leading to the discovery of it missing from Air India's possession.
"For the record I have never been in possession of the painting and I have not even seen it. I only enquired if authenticity of it could be verified by Jatin Das, as I was approached by a buyer before he could enter into the deal, as it was offered to him for sale by a party in India," Pooja Acharya said.
Acharya, in her email correspondence with Jatin Das had claimed that a Sarabjit Singh had bought Das' work from Dhoomimal Art Gallery twenty years ago.
07/07/17 Poulomi Saha/India Today