The Ministry of Culture on Sunday clarified that the advisory committees of the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru have not been dissolved and are in the process of being reconstituted.

The clarification came in the aftermath of the controversy involving actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar, who was repeatedly interrupted while speaking at an event at Mumbai’s NGMA when he criticised the ministry for scrapping the advisory committees. Palekar was forced to cut short his speech at the event organised to inaugurate an exhibition of the works of the artist Prabhakar Barwe.

The Barwe exhibition, Palekar had said, “will be the last show that is decided by the advisory committee of local artists and not by some bureaucrat or agent of the government with an agenda of either moral policing or proliferation of certain art commensurate with an ideological incline. As of November 13, 2018, the artists’ advisory committees operating at both regional centres, in Mumbai and Bangalore, have been abolished.”

In a statement, the ministry on Sunday said the terms of the Mumbai and Bengaluru committees had ended on November 15 last year and that of the Delhi committee on January 17. It added that recommendations of the previous advisory committees would be honoured and exhibitions of artists will be held as proposed earlier. The new advisory committee will take a decision relating to future exhibitions, it said.

Palekar had criticised the ministry’s decision to reduce the area at the Mumbai gallery for holding external shows. According to a decision taken by the NGMA director general in November last year, only one-sixth of the gallery’s total area, or the dome area, will be now available for external shows, the Mumbai Mirror reported.

With regard to permanent collections, the ministry said the gallery had proposed to display its own collections initially over a two-year period. “Some artists have expressed their apprehensions about availability of less space for temporary exhibitions and retrospectives,” it said. “The NGMA is deliberating on suggestions received from artists, and a final decision will be taken shortly in consultation with all stakeholders.”