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An academy for art

Innovative art work.

EARLY IN life, many of the creative types in our midst realize that deep within them is an artist struggling to find expression. A lucky few among us get to attend professional art school, study the great masters, learn from those at the top... and go on to make an artistic career for ourselves.

Still, quite a few of us get stuck in other professions, and have a twinge of regret every now and then, that we're not able to give full vent to our artistic skills and unique talent.

If you're one of those who yearns to wield the paintbrush, the pencil and the crayon... simply for the mere joy of creation, then you could be the right candidate to become an amateur artist. That's where non-profit organizations such as Chitrakala Academy do a lot to promote amateur art, by bringing together like-minded people with talent, whatever their age or experience. A group of artists who got together in 1978, formed the Chitrakala Academy, the District Art Centre, right here in Coimbatore.

With its headquarters at NSR Iyengar Road, Saibaba Colony, the academy is affiliated to the New Delhi-based Lalit Kala Academy, and the Chennai-based Tamil Nadu Ovia Nunkalai Kuzhu.

``Art is something nobody should live without,'' is the motto of Chitrakala Academy, which has 11 patrons, 50 life members and over 200 regular and student members. They've held 18 annual art exhibitions and six art workshops in Coimbatore, and have also participated in art expos in Chennai and Bangalore.

``Our academy regularly conducts workshops for painting and sculpture for students and amateur artists, under the guidance of eminent senior artists. Coaching classes for young, budding artists are conducted on Sundays,'' says V. Saravana Kumar, Secretary of the Academy.

``Each of us is trying to find our own style,'' says V. Jeevananthan. "Professionally-trained people follow the masters of painting, but we have no such training... we learn on our own. During our student days, we draw from photos and do colour mixing until we get the shades right.''

``Portraits are not photo-reproductions,'' he explains, "For paintings bring out character. We have to study the subject for half an hour, and so even individual mannerisms find their way into the portrait.'' Besides helping child artists and amateurs, Chitrakala Academy assists them in getting a foothold in the art world. It also awards scholarships for talented students who want to do higher studies in art.

By A.A. Michael Raj

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