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The campus has a Mahatma Gandhi art centre, where sustainable arts are taught

By Renata Nathania

Tucked away among the busy turns of the street, behind large imposing walls, Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishath is a world on its own, that nurtures, and preserves artists. Located on Kumar Krupa Road, it is home to many crafts which are growing obsolete in the community. Annually, at the various fairs the Parishath conducts, the lesser-known art forms of India are put on display, to gather patrons, and to also inform the general public.

The Parishath houses the College of Fine Arts, and an evening college that teaches visual arts. The foundational year of all courses involves giving students a thorough knowledge of a diverse set of skills. They are taught painting techniques, fine arts skills, pottery, crafts, and are also taught how to study paintings according to time period, style, medium, and artistic inclination.

'Chitrasanthe', which literally means 'a fair of paintings' is conducted every year on a Sunday in January, where artists from all over the world feature their work.

'Chitrasanthe', which literally means 'a fair of paintings' is conducted every year on a Sunday in January, where artists from all over the world feature their work.picture shared from karnatakachitrakalaparishath website

The entire road is lined with paintings, sculptures, and crafts, which are sold, or promoted. The fair is open to everyone, and is free of cost. Last year, the santhe was conducted online, owing to the pandemic, and lasted a month. Over 1,500 artists registered and displayed their work. During the fair, performing arts are a huge attraction. Folklore, traditional dances, and story-telling performances, including puppet-shows are displayed. Most of them are native to Kannada culture. This is an initiative by the Parishath to preserve these dying art forms.

The campus has a Mahatma Gandhi art centre, where sustainable arts are taught. Pottery, weaving, and so on, which involve a skill-set built over lifetimes, mainly by craftsmen who have a lineage of artisanry, are taught here. During the summer, there are special courses conducted here, for both children and adults interested in art as a hobby. It also serves as a recreation centre for the students.

The Parishath has multiple galleries that house different kinds of art.picture shared from karnatakachitrakalaparishath website

The Parishath has multiple galleries that house different kinds of art. Sometimes exceptional work by the students is displayed for a few days in the galleries, after which they are sold in the art mart nearby, to patrons. Paintings by Russian artist Nicholas Roerich, are famously displayed here. They were donated by his son, Dr. Svetlosav Roerich, who is also an artist himself. His work is famous in India as a Russian symbolist, who took to Buddhism. His works largely capture the Himalayan range, which he supposedly fell in love with. He moved to India with his family to paint these mountains.

One of the unique features among the Parishath's galleries is the display of leather puppets. There is a separate gallery for this art. These leather puppets belong to a Kannada tradition of Togalu Gombeyaata, which translates to a play with leather dolls. These puppets are elaborately decorated, and are used to tell stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The campus institution which patronises this art form, is currently studying this tradition.

Karnataka Chitra Kala Parishath is an art centre that has preserved and promoted traditional arts and culture in Bengaluru since 1960, and a pioneering art college that produces fine artists and encourages the study of visual representation of these arts for years. Five of thirteen galleries in the Parishath are regularly rented out to organisations and teams who exhibit cultural performances and conduct art events. Some international facilities like Alliance Francaise also use these venues for their exhibitions.


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