The ongoing protests in India have hit an art festival in the tiny western state of Goa.
Amid criticism by civil society activists for blocking public access to two art installations with oblique references to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), organisers of the Serendipity Art Festival in Goa opened the exhibits for public viewing on the last day of the event, on Sunday, 22 December.
Speaking to media after the two exhibits involving Assamese Miyah poetry and a public graffiti, both of which bore references to the citizenship law, contemporary artist Sudarshan Shetty said, "I am happy that all the works are available for viewers on the last day".
On 18 December, two artworks by Shetty, which made oblique references to the turmoil in India’s north-eastern region and the CAA, were abruptly shut down for viewing.
One of the exhibits, involving electronic broadcasting of Miyah poetry from a socially disadvantaged society and some other poets from the northeast, which has been the hub of protests against the CAA and NRC, was put off limits on the fourth day of the festival.
The other exhibit barred for visitors of the festival involved innovative showcasing of ink "upcycled" from carbon from air-pollution emissions and enabled carbon-negative printing and production.
As part of the immersive experience offered by the curator, visitors could scribble graffiti’s of their choice with the help of pens loaded with the unique black ink on empty canvases.
Organisers of the festival refrained from commenting on the controversy and were not available for comment.
The new Citizenship Act along with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) has led to nationwide protests, especially by the Muslim community, who allege that it is discriminatory. The NRC calls for the identification of all illegal immigrants living in India, but some Muslims are concerned that when the NRC is launched across India, only Muslims will have to prove their citizenship and not people of any other faith.