After the Indian High Commission in Canada sought the removal of ‘smoking Kaali’ poster by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, the Aga Khan Museum on Tuesday issued a statement saying that they deeply regret the offence caused to the members of the Hindu and other faith communities by the social media post.
“The museum deeply regrets that one of the 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post have inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu and other faith communities,” the statement read.
The museum was hosting the works of students from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds under the project titled “Under the Tent” organised by the Toronto Metropolitan University.
“Toronto Metropolitan University’s project presentation was hosted at the Aga Khan Museum in the context of the Museum’s mission to foster intercultural understanding and dialogue through the arts. Respect for diverse religious expressions and faith communities forms an integral part of that mission,” the statement said.
The Indian High Commission in Canada on Monday had urged the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw “all such provocative material”.
In a statement, the High Commission said that they have received complaints from leaders of the Hindu community in Canada about “disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods on the poster of a film showcased as part of the ‘Under the Tent project at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto.”
The controversy erupted after filmmaker Leena Manimekalai shared the poster of the film on social media. The poster depicts a woman dressed in the costume of Goddess Kaali. She is seen smoking a cigarette in the photo. Along with her usual accoutrements of trishul (trident), and sickle, the actor playing the goddess is shown wielding the LGBTQ+ community’s pride flag. Take a look here:
— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) July 2, 2022