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Male nude photography exhibition shut-down in Delhi

Male nude photography exhibition shut-down in Delhi

An exhibition in Delhi by Indian-born London-based photographer Sunil Gupta was shut-down by police this week after a complaint that it was obscene.

The exhibition at the Indian capital’s Alliance Francaise opened last Friday and first the centre took down some of the photographs in response to the complaint from an individual. Then on Saturday the Alliance Francaise told the artist that the whole exhibition was being taken down.

‘I was informed by a third party in the evening that it would remain shut. No formal letter was sent…the decision was taken by the Alliance,” Gupta told The Hindu.

One series in the exhibition, Sun City, is partly set in a Paris bathhouse and unmistakable homoerotic, but doesn’t feature full-frontal nudity. The series was originally commissioned in 2010 by the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SHMT), a collective of socially conscious artists in India, issued a statement condemning the Alliance Francaise's reaction to the complaint.

‘If major institutions like them [Alliance Francaise] cannot stand up against complaints made by a single individual and support the work of an artist they have invited to exhibit, they do not deserve the respect or patronage of the art community,’ SHMT said.

International cultural centres such as the Alliance Francaise, which promotes French language and culture in 135 countries throughout the world, are often able to challenge culture censorship in the country they are based. For example, Alliance Francaise in Shanghai screens movies with gay themes during the Shanghai Pride festival.

Gay Star News has contacted Alliance Francaise Delhi for a response.