The term reads Goods and Services but art is not a commodity, it’s an expression of emotion: Vibhor Sogani
Art is long, time is fleeting, goes the saying but in the present scenario, it seems the adage would need an appendage like ‘and taxes are increasing.’ Goods and Services Tax (GST), when it rolled out on Friday midnight, was seen not only as a big blow to our movie-viewing experience, but it also meant being an art connoisseur will be a costly proposition now.
Veteran artist Alka Raghuvanshi believes that the art market wasn’t doing great and now GST right after demonetisation will spell doom for the artists. She says, “It’s like killing the dead. As it is, the 12 per cent tax was a bad enough deterrent for people to not buy art and now you have 18 per cent. Not everything sells everyday. Even the prices of tools for making art have gone up. So, it’s a double whammy. The artists earlier struggled to find buyers and now the process will make it more difficult.” She says that government must do something to help artists and give them rebates. She adds, “There is a rule since independence that enjoins that all government buildings must use two per cent of the total cost towards art. It should be increased to at least five per cent.”
Noted sculptor Vibhor Sogani says, “The term reads Goods and Services but art is not a commodity, it’s an expression of emotion. With such percentage of tax, India will struggle in the art scene globally. I was informed that the whole art market is around Rs 500 crores a year, which shows how small it is. Now GST will be a deterrent for buyers as I can already sense of reluctance among the art buyers.”
Seema Subbanna, art curator, also feels that as art can’t be mass produced, it should not come in the business category. She says, “When other forms of art are not under GST, then why us? GST would greatly affect the younger artists who are completely dependent on the sales of their artworks.”