The beaches of Cholamandalam village on the Mammallapuram coast at village Injambakkam,9 km from Chennai, have witnessed a quiet and beautiful movement since 1966. That was when theCholamandalam Artists’ Village was established. It is the largest artists’ commune in India, whose artistsare credited for the Madras Movement of Art (1950s–1980s), which brought modernism to art in theSouth India. Their work is widely recognized as some of the best art produced in postwar India, and isshown regularly in galleries across the country.The community was founded by K. C. S. Paniker, the principal of the Madras School of Arts,along with his students and a few artists associated with the college. It used the `art-meets-craft’approach where artists made handicrafts for a living even as they pursued their art. It has over twentyresident painters and sculptors, who live as a community and pool their skills; they also run theArtists Handicrafts Association, a cooperative which manages the village and sale of works throughthe permanent exhibition at the complex, which includes paintings, sketches, terra-cotta/stone/metalsculptures, batiks and handicrafts etc., made by the artists living the village, making the village a selfsupportingentity. By 1970s, the village became self-sufficient, and grew into one of the most importantmeeting places for international artists in India, and today, it remains one of the few artist-drivenmovements that India.Several Cholamandalam artists have also shown in Europe, the United States and SouthAmerica. Four decades on, it is one of the few artists’ colonies in the world to survive successfully andits foundation remains one of the “10 biggest art moments” in India.


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