According to an article by The Hindu, officials from India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) are requesting the removal of a video included in the 200-piece exhibit at one of Beijing's most well-known galleries, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, claiming that it contains "politically controversial overtones."
The show, titled "Indian Highways," has attracted more than a thousand visitors a day, with nearly 10,000 guests visiting the work in one weekend. But despite the exhibit's popularity in Beijing, the Indian government is putting its foot down.
The video in question is called "I Love My India," and was created by Tejal Shah, a multimedia artist who works in video, photography, performance and sound. Shah's four-minute video features interviews discussing the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, when nearly 1,000 people were killed in a massacre while police stood idly by. The work is described by London's Serpentine Gallery, the institution that curated "Indian Highways," as an examination of "the ignorance and lack of understanding of the genocide against the Muslim minority in Gujarat in 2002."
The video on Gujarat was not shown during the exhibit's opening on June 23rd, when Indian ambassador S. Jaishankar arrived to inaugurate the works. Gallery organizers claimed that technical problems prohibited them from screening Shah's work, though other videos depicting sensitive issues in India were shown. Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art has yet to comment on the Indian government's censorship request, and neither The Serpentine Gallery nor Tejal Shah have issued a statement on the controversy.
"Indian Highways" is set to run at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing until August 19, 2012.
See a slideshow of stills from "I Love My India" below, and let us know what you think of the censorship debate in the comments section: