Artists from across India have come together under the banner of “Artists Unite!” and signed a declaration with the intention of reinforcing public traditions that speak “for democracy, and against hate”. The “Artists Unite!” platform organised nationwide conventions – in Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur and Chandigarh – on Saturday.

There were discussions, film shows, art installations and stage performances to strongly express the notion that “artists and cultural practitioners will continue to resist the politics of hate” and “continue to safeguard a culture that speaks of humanity and democracy”.

More than 450 signatories have come together on the issue and stated that the “recent history the politics of hate, division and exclusion has never been so dominant as we find it today, with a poisonous ideology which informs it deeply entrenched into the state and in governance.”

The signatories include a diverse list of well-known names including writers Arundhati Roy, Jerry Pinto, Shashi Deshpande, musician T M Krishna, film-makers Anand Patwardhan, Kabir Khan, Kiran Rao, Nandita Das, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Shonali Bose, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, artists Atul Dodiya, Sudhir Patwardhan, Vivan Sundaram, dancers Astad Deboo, Mallika Sarabhai, poets Adil Jussawala, Ashok Vajpayi, theatre practitioners Mahesh Dattani, Mahesh Eklunchwar and Sunil Shanbag among others.

Here are photographs of the convention in Bangalore:

 

 

 

 

From the convention in Delhi: 

 

 

 

[Cover photograph from AU Delhi convention; photographs courtesy: Shamya Dasgupta]

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