Once a representative of India’s ancient Vastu Vidhya, the Jawahar Kala Kendra now adorns elements of a modern glitzy building. The centre so aesthetically crafted by world famous Indian architect Charles Correa (1930–2015) now seems to mock at its creator.
Correa swore to have never used glass in his structures but recent renovations by present masters of the centre have replaced its sandstone walls and corridors with glass, plastic and metal at several places. Correa’s building was celebrated for sensitivity towards traditional methods and materials but after his demise the same have been destroyed here, says the artist who frequents JKK.
The place that used to be an epicenter of cultural activities in the city, now faces criticism from its stakeholders—artists, audience and visitors. Protests over arbitrary changes in the centre’s constitution, appointment of an out-stationed director and alleged high-handed administration, VIP culture at the parking space, gag order for media and a list of do’s and don’ts for the artists highlight that not just its appearance but even the place’s anatomy appears to have been tampered with.
Ranbir Singh, president of Indian People Theatre Association (IPTA), charges the JKK administration of ruining the creation of a distinguished architect. “Some galleries have been converted into hyper-modern art rooms by closing down windows, erecting parallel walls, covering air ducts and installing glass doors. This has caused irreparable damage to Correa’s school of design. The tempering has affected penetration of sunlight and circulation of air,” says Singh, who was in the team that crafted JKK’s constitution in 1993.
The constitution was amended allegedly overnight, without following the rules. The provision of having three directors, one each from the field of literature, art and music, was axed. Matters touched a low when artists publicly protested against the appointment of director Pooja Sood which, they alleged, was made bypassing rules and regulations.