The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Art Gallery is a landmark in Kozhikode city these days with hundreds of people visiting it every day. From a small room beneath the CH Overbridge, it has grown into a double storeyed space where artists from all corners of the country exhibit their works.

The Akademi set up the art gallery 26 years ago. It soon shifted into a building behind Town Hall in Mananchira. In fact, the kitchen of the Town Hall was modified to accommodate the gallery. After around 20 years, the Akademi decided to make it big. With the help of the Kozhikode Corporation, the present structure was built and opened for public in December 2012.

Now with five galleries, three in the ground floor and two in the first floor, the gallery is busy round the year with one or the other art exhibition. There are times when five exhibitions are held simultaneously here; a huge leap from the one-room gallery that held just one exhibition. There are two caretakers and two sweepers. Chandran P.M., a caretaker, has been with the gallery since its inception. K.C. Mahesh took charge recently.

The gallery mainly hosts exhibitions of individual artists while group exhibitions are held occasionally. The last exhibition, featuring mural paintings by 28 artists was the biggest exhibition hosted by the gallery so far. All the five galleries were used for it. The turnout of people was also maximum for this exhibition, Mr. Chandran said.

The increasing turnout at the art gallery points towards an increasing awareness on art among the general public. The proximity to Town Hall has been proved to be beneficial too. Most people who attend programmes at Town Hall visit the art gallery as well.

However, the turnout has not influenced the sales, says Mr. Chandran. “People come and watch the works, but rarely do they buy somethin0g,” he added.

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