Though the Cho­la­man­dal Artists’ Vil­lage is no longer a place of bu­colic charm, its Bo­hemian spirit still sur­vives

India Today - - SPORTS - —Madhu Jain

The Cho­la­man­dal Artists’ Vil­lage, on the out­skirts of Chennai, is cel­e­brat­ing its 50th year an­niver­sary with an ex­hi­bi­tion of paint­ings and sculp­tures from the largely for­got­ten Madras Move­ment, be­gun in the late 1950s. Spear­headed by the late K.C.S. Paniker, who also founded the artists’ vil­lage, the re­gional art move­ment con­sisted of stu­dents from the Madras School of Arts & Crafts, where Paniker was principal, and led to the dis­cov­ery of “new premises for con­tem­po­rary In­dian art”, ac­cord­ing to art his­to­rian Josef James. Opened Fe­bru­ary 6 and run­ning through March 20, the ex­hi­bi­tion chron­i­cles the 50-year desi Bo­hemia cre­ated in 1966 by artists in­clud­ing K.M. Adi­moolam, V. Viswanad­han, C. Dak­ish­namoor­thy and K. Jaya­pala Paniker. “The idea was to cre­ate aware­ness about the move­ment and about the vil­lage,” ex­plains M. Se­nathipathi, pres­i­dent of the Cho­la­man­dal Artists’ Vil­lage.

When the vil­lage first came up, the artists built their own huts with thatch and bam­boo, sur­viv­ing with­out elec­tric­ity and lit­tle food. But they were fired by Paniker’s ex­hor­ta­tion to be open to western art while draw­ing sus­te­nance from tra­di­tion. To­day, that rus­tic ap­peal has dis­ap­peared from the bustling vil­lage of con­crete houses. The lat­est ad­di­tion is the Cho­la­man­dal Cul­tural Cen­tre, with stu­dios and apart­ments for visit­ing artists, a gallery of con­tem­po­rary art, and a gallery that artists can rent. Bo­hemia still, but with a gen­tle cor­po­rate face.

The K.C.S. Paniker Mu­seum of the Madras Move­ment RE­MEM­BER THE


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