The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath has defined Bangalore’s cultural heritage for over 40 years

The Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, popularly known as the CKP, is a hub of art, culture and creativity.

Established in the 1960s and formerly known as the Mysore Chitrakala Parishath, its beautiful architecture and central location attract visitors from a cross section of society.

The CKP provides a platform for artists from all States and the remotest of villages to exhibit their works.

Yogi Sunando Basu, a Delhi-based artist whose paintings have been exhibited here, says the CKP is among the preferred spaces for art exhibitions for its reasonable rates and suitable atmosphere. Yogi’s colleagues, Sujit Ghosh, Gautam Mukherji and Arun Kumar Samadder, all of whom hail from West Bengal and have had their paintings displayed here, contend that exhibitions held at the CKP attract more viewers than private art galleries do.

The CKP’s four galleries are spacious enough for large-scale exhibitions, while the graphic studio and 13 permanent museums display the works of internationally and nationally renowned artists such as Nicholas Roerich, Anjolie Ela Menon and Amrita Sher-Gil, among others.

Humble beginnings

Babu Rajendra Prasad, art teacher and museum-in-charge, traces the origins of the Chitrakala Vidyalaya, the College of Fine Arts, which was founded by Nanjunda Rao and added to the parishath in 1964.

“From a small room in Malleswaram, the college was shifted to its current location on Kumara Krupa Road,” he says.

The Art Complex, according to Mr. Prasad, is popular among the community of artists because of its reasonable rents and interesting cultural programmes. “Many activities, mostly government-sponsored events, are held at the open-air theatre. The events held are unique, covering a wide range of topics,” he points out.

Apart from niche art events, the CKP is well-known for its art bazaars. The Chitra Santhe, an annual art bazaar, sees the participation of artisans from all over India.

Uttam Veer, a trader, says that the CKP is the best space for exhibitors who don’t have shops. “The products sold are unique and affordable. I am always happy to participate in fairs held here,” he says.

Frequent visitors to the Art Complex say the CKP is more of a national than a State institute. “Since we can’t travel everywhere, we find all the States of India in one place. The exhibitions held here are very interesting, the rates are reasonable, the quality of products good,” says Anuradha, a resident of R.T. Nagar of the city.

The CKP has defined Bangalore’s cultural heritage for over 40 years, and continues to appeal to city’s residents as a result of its commitment to promoting art and culture.

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