Sunil Gupta, Censorship in New Delhi
The Sunil Gupta exhibition Sun City and Other Stories opened on March 23 at the Alliance Française in New Delhi. It was closed by police the next day. The scheduled April 3 reopening has yet to take place.
The difficulties encountered by Sun City and Other Stories raise questions about the Indian public’s reception to work concerning homosexuality.
Commissioned by the Centre Pompidou last summer, the series, structured like a fotonovela, tells the story of a young Indian immigrant in Paris and his French lover. By day he is in a romantic relationship, and by night explores his sexuality at Sun City, a gay sauna in central Paris.
While Western audiences have grown accustomed to seeing art address homosexuality, in India, according to Gupta, “There is no film, no story, no photo. It is completely invisible.”
It took courage for the Alliance Française to exhibit this series (which, after all, was not produced in India), before backing out under public pressure. This is proof that Sunil Gupta, and his larger fight for the recognition of homosexuality in India, remains a highly controversial topic in the world’s largest democracy.