Sunday, April 20, 2014
In the 1960s, when K.C.S. Panicker started what came to be known as the 'Madras Movement', he also recognized that the artists of the Movement needed to be able to sustain themselves without having to sacrifice the leisure to pursue their art. And so was born, in 1966, the Cholamandalam Artists' Village. It was indeed a village, where the inhabitants turned out art products, which were then marketed to provide them a livelihood. Over the years, the Village has thrived; it is one of the very few artists' communes across the world that has remained successful across generations.
In 2009, the Village inaugurated its showpiece to the world. The Cholamandalam Centre for Contemporary Art displays several works by the vanguard of the Madras Movement. The redbrick building houses paintings and sculptures; and there are many more sculptures and installations in the grounds as well. In fact, some of them have blended right in with the environment that you are surprised at what turns up. (Remember the sleeping cat? And one installation, being under a Ficus, has the ariel roots finding pathways through its grooves, now)
More about the Madras Movement later. The ban on taking pictures of the displays inside means that one has to find other ways to show what is there. But hey, if you are up early today, go for a drive on the East Coast Road. And on the way back, stop at the Centre - they open at 10am, so you can also stop here on your way to brunch along the ECR. So now, you have no excuses left for staying away from here!