It has been a rebirth of sorts for the Lalit Kala Akademi which is about to complete 60 years of its existence as it gears up to accommodate marginalised rural artisans at Garhi, where it has succeeded in removing a group of urban artists who were refusing to vacate the premises.
According to a senior official at the Akademi, an autonomous organisation set up by the Union Government to propagate understanding of Indian art, the general council and executive board members would not be allowed to become studio members at Garhi.
'Priority would be given to artists belonging to disadvantaged communities who are living in the interiors of the country. Though extremely talented, these artists are not media savvy,' he told The Hindu.
As identifying these artists across is a massive task, workshops would be conducted across the country.
'We would also be placing advertisements in local newspapers so that these rural artists can know of these workshops. Outreach programmes would be conceived to serve the hinterland. Women, tribal and folk communities would be given sponsorship and scholarships to work and study at Garhi.'
To ensure that the artists do not misuse their position by overstaying, the Akademi would have a fixed term of stay. 'Forty artists, who were removed from the Garhi, had termed the LKA’s action against them unjustified and illegal as they were paying the market rent of Rs.150. Imagine paying such a pittance to Garhi when the rents have sky-rocketed across the Capital. The Akademi would continue to provide subsidy and have affordable rate for the new artists.'
Barring a couple, all artists, some of whom had been staying at Garhi for 35 years, have vacated.Since some artists have been misusing the facilities, the Akademi would be monitoring their work and make it mandatory for them to exhibit their art pieces.
'We would encourage the public to enter the premises once a month to see the art works. This way, we would make Garhi more accessible to the art loving public of Delhi.'
To widen Garhi’s appeal among the art fraternity, the Akademi will start national and international residencies. Therefore, emphasis would be given as much to contemporary art as traditional art.
A serious attempt would be made to resuscitate the indigenous art forms, which are on the brink of extinction.