Artist Laxma Goud is busy working on his etching plate at a Printmaking camp at Kismathpur. He doesn’t raise his head unless you walk by him, but when he talks, you know he has a point that drives home.
“When the government can divide the state, why can’t they divide a university and give the artists the Lalit Kala Akademi back?” he asks, referring to the academy that was dissolved by the N.T. Rama Rao government to set up the Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University.
“I’ve approached the Telangana government three times. The one time it was made a big issue in the media, they came running to me and asked me to wait, and waiting is all I have been doing since then,” he fumes.
Laxma Goud has long been backing the idea of reviving the Lalit Kala Akademi, making it a space for artists of different spheres to come together and work once again. “Why would we need private art camps if we were able to afford a space for artists to work together? Youngsters like Aditya and Awani who host these camps... it is out of their love for the art and their willingness that they are doing it. Why should artists like Chippa Sudhakar have to offer their studios for us to work? It’s because they want to do so... why can’t the government be as active?” he asks.
The government, of course, has priorities. And Laxma says, “I’m not saying that water scarcity or agriculture are unimportant. They need to be dealt with, but that doesn’t mean that you ignore us artists.”
He adds, “We are not begging for money, what we want is our space back... and it is extremely humiliating for us to keep asking for it. I want upcoming artists to have a space to practise their art and grow... we need it for them.”