Art meets market

Published : Jul 17, 2009 00:00 IST

The Government College of Fine Arts has started a masters programme in sculpture this year.-V. GANESAN

The Government College of Fine Arts has started a masters programme in sculpture this year.-V. GANESAN

IN the heart of Chennai is a beautiful campus with trees, Indo-Saracenic buildings, abstract sculptures, modern murals and perfect imitations of prehistoric paintings.

This is the Government College of Fine Arts, Egmore, where great artists such as D.P. Roy Chowdhury (who sculpted the Triumph of Labour statue on the Marina beach in Chennai), K.C.S. Paniker, S. Dhanapal, R. Krishna Rao, K.L. Munuswamy, A.P. Santhanaraj, C.J. Anthony Doss and G. Chandrasekaran have been principals.

Our students are employed everywhere in textile mills as designers, as art directors and storyboard artists in films, in hospitals, in the Agriculture Department, in television, animation and the newspaper industry, in fashion designing, in interior decoration, and as arts teachers, says N. Manoharan, the Principal. He says that hospitals and medical colleges employ artists for anatomical drawings. These drawings are done, especially before and after a micro-surgery or a plastic surgery, and they are useful in explaining to medicos how a surgery is done. Manoharan adds, The majority of those employed in the animation industry, television, newspapers and weekly magazines are students from our college. They form the backbone of the interior decoration industry. They also work as visualisers in advertising agencies and as architects in designing exhibition stalls at trade expositions. MaEnoharan is proud that top art directors such as Thotta Tharani, Marudu, Mahi, JK, Prabakar, Mani and Sabu Cyril are from the college.

Founded in 1850, the college is the oldest art school in India. Today, it offers Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, Sculpture, Visual Communication, Textile Design, Graphic Arts and Ceramics. Besides, it offers postgraduate programmes in Painting, Visual Communication, Textile Designs and Ceramics. From this academic year, a Masters in Fine Arts in Sculpture is being offered. The other Government College of Fine Arts in Tamil Nadu is in Kumbakonam.

The college is also the nursery of photography in Chennai, with the Madras Photography Studio being established there, the Principal says.

K.T. Gandhirajan, guest lecturer in the college, explains: Nobody who studies in this college will face the problem of unemployment. The BFA in Visual Communication at the college is different from the fancy courses offered by other colleges, says Gandhirajan. Students are taught to draw manually and not merely to use computers to draw pictures. Everywhere in the animation industry, the preference is for those who can draw manually. The boom in the animation industry is expected to create thousands of jobs in the next few years. And international companies prefer to recruit artists from Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram because they can speak in English.

With many art galleries coming up in different parts of India, there is big demand for sculptors and painters. Hotels, cinema complexes, malls and companies buy abstract sculptures in metal and stone for display.

T.S. Subramanian
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