The beaches of Cholamandal Village on the Mahabalipuram coast at Village Injambakkam, 9 km from Adayar, have witnessed a quite and beautiful movement since 1966. That was when the Cholamandal Artists’ Village was established. It is the largest artists’ commune in India, whose artists are credited for the Madras Art Movement (1950s-1980s), which brought modernism to art in South India. Their work is widely recognized as some of the best art produced in postwar India, and is shown regularly in galleries across the country.

K.C.S. Paniker founded the community; 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 twenty resident painters and sculptors, who live as a community and pool their skills; they also run the Artists Handicrafts Association, a cooperative which manages the village and sale of works through the permanent exhibition at the complex, which includes paintings, sketches, terra-cotta/stone/metal sculptures, batiks and handicrafts etc., made by the artists living the village, making the village a self-supporting entity.

By 1970s, the village became self-sufficient, and grew into one of the most important meeting places for international artists in India, and today, it remains one of the few artist-driven movements in India.

Several Cholamandal artists have also shown in Europe, the United States and South America. Four decades on, it is one of the few artists’ colonies in the world to survive successfully and its foundation remains one of the “10 biggest art moments in India.

The Artists’ Village still functions on the basis of principles laid by Paniker and is home to a host of inhouse as well as traveling artists and creative professionals.

KCS Paniker (1911-77). A great legend and visionary leader Cholamandal is celebrating the 100th birth anniversary of Paniker. This show is a part of the centenary celebration paying tributes to his contribution to the world of art. A large collection of Paniker’s works is housed in the Paniker Gallery at the Government Museum of Trivandrum, Kerala.

Injambakkam Thiruvanmiyur
Chennai 600042
T: (044) 24490092


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