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Chitrakala Parishat: taking art to the people

A view of the Chitrakala Parishat. — Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

WHEN OVER 10,000 artists spilled over on to Bangalore's Kumara Krupa Road to celebrate art last month, thousands turned up to appreciate, buy, interact. Chitra Santhe, the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat's way of taking art out to the people, had just made a statement.

And the institution behind the show had every reason to feel proud, to record another success in its 44 years of existence.

Promoting visual arts and encouraging artists of every hue, the Parishat has today emerged as a one-stop centre to study art, to work out multidisciplinary opportunities in art and design and appreciate and critique the various art forms.

Pioneering work

Its pioneering work in the survey and collection of traditional paintings, leather puppets and ancient crafts of Karnataka has only added to the Parishath's importance in this part of the world.

For students keen to cut a new path in their career, the Parishat's College of Fine Arts offers an opportunity to grow. Affiliated to the Bangalore University, this college offers a five-year integrated course, leading to the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). A two-year Foundation course leads to specialisation in Painting, Graphics, Sculpture, Applied Art and Art History.

It also offers a postgraduate diploma course and a Master's programme in Fine Arts (MFA).

The five-year course features Painting, Applied Arts, Sculpture, Graphics (Print-making) and Art History. Art History is compulsory for all the five years and is taught either in English or Kannada. Kannada and English (or Hindi) are compulsory in the foundation course.

The MFA programme is covered in four semesters while the postgraduate diploma courses take two years. Painting, Sculpture, Graphic Art and Applied Art are offered in MFA. Students can look out for opportunities galore in advertising agencies, textile designing, interior decoration, product design and exhibition design or work as art consultants, painters, sculptors and print-makers.

To get admitted to the MFA and postgraduate diploma courses, the student should at least hold a BFA degree or a five-year diploma with a minimum of 50 per cent marks in the same specialisation. The applicant should also have studied in a recognised professional fine arts institution as a full-time student.

Merit is the criterion

For admission to the first year Foundation course, a candidate should have passed the SSLC examination of the Karnataka Secondary Board or any equivalent examination and clear an aptitude test conducted by the college. The seats will be allotted purely on merit and according to the Government reservation policy.

Students of BFA seeking admission in any of the five specialisations after the Foundation course should make a fresh application for the required discipline.

Students completing the Foundation course from any other university should obtain permission from the Bangalore University, Dept. of Technical Education, Govt. of Karnataka, for admission to the III year specialisation.

A similar permission is necessary for joining the II year Foundation course.

Candidates with a degree (B.A., B.Sc., or B.Com.) are eligible to the III year BFA with specialisaton in Art History only. The practical work prescribed in the syllabus is applicable to them.

Established in 1960, the Parishat got active straightaway. That year, it started holding art exhibitions at both the state and national levels. Conferences and workshops were also started.

An art school, Chitrakala Vidyalaya, was added in 1964. Two years later, both the Central and State Lalitkala Academies recognised the Parishat.

It was then the Parishat undertook a survey of the State's art treasures such as the historic Mysore traditional paintings and leather puppets of similar antiquity.

The survey, a first of its kind, yielded rewarding and far reaching results, the collections accrued from it forming invaluable source material for study and research.

The pioneering efforts of its Founder Secretary, M.S. Nanjunda Rao, resulted in a massive collection of leather puppets.

The Parishat's Chitrakala Institute of Advanced Studies takes up short-term, long-term, multidisciplinary research projects in Indian art and culture. This research wing is fully supported by a cultural reference multi-media collection, cultural achives, personal collection of artists and scholars.

Resource centre

The Institute serves as a major resource centre for research in humanities and arts with scholars, professionals and artists from India and abroad associated with its research activities.

For more on the Parishat and its activities, contact Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, Kumara Krupa Road, Bangalore-560 001. Ph: 080-22261816, 22263424. Email:


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