Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath is an art institution and cultural organisation located in Bangalore, Karnataka. Its main aim is the promotion of art and culture and it is well known for the various art exhibitions that it conducts both at the state and the National levels.

History of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath
In the early 1950s, a need for a full fledged art institution in Bangalore was felt by the renowned Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich who used to reside in Bangalore. He discussed this with his industrialist friend H K Kejriwal and both of them approached Devraj Urs, the then Chief Minister of the state of Karnataka with a request to grant land to construct an art complex in Bangalore. Devraj Urs was enthusiastic about this idea but indicated that they should partially finance this venture with a promise that the Government of Karnataka would release twice the amount collected by them. Kejriwal agreed to donate Rs. 500 thousand from his foundation and as per the promise, the Government of Karnataka released Rs. 1 million to finance this venture. The Government also released two and a half acres of land on Kumara Krupa Road in Bangalore to house this art complex. A Chitrakala parishath trust was formed whose important trustees were S M Krishna, the then Minister of Industries in the Karnataka Government, Nagarathnamma, the Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly along with Svetoslav Roerich and Kejriwal. Later trustees included Ramakrishna Hegde and Jeevraj Alva. The founder secretary was Prof. M.S. Nanjunda Rao.

Dr. Svetoslav Roerich donated several of his paintings and those of his father Nicholas Roerich to the Parishath. In its initial years it started holding art exhibitions at various places in Karnataka and India and also started conferences and workshops related to art and culture. Nanjunda Rao's Chitrakala Vidyalaya was added to the Parishath in the year 1964. In the year 1966, it obtained recognition as an art-centre by the state and national Lalit Kala Akademi (academy of art). One of the pioneering activities undertaken by the Parishath was to conduct a survey of the Karnataka state's art treasures such as the famous Mysore paintings. This survey was hugely successful in cataloguing the art treasures and this also lead to lot of studies and research on the various arts found. With time, the Parishath added galleries and also a graphic studio making it into a full-fledged art complex. In 1993, an INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) centre at Bangalore was started with the help of the Parishath. In 1995, Mr. Kejriwal donated his family's art collection which were displayed in spacious galleries in the Parishath. In 1998-99 a sculpture gallery was also added to the Parishath complex. An open-air theatre to cater to the needs of the visual and performing artists is also present. In 2003, two more large galleries for international and folk art were also inaugurated. One of the important events organised annually is the Chitra santhe (art bazaar) which is a sale of art objects in which hundreds of artists from all over India participate and sell their art work to the public.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath Galleries
The paintings of Nicholas Roerich have been placed in two galleries called Roerich I and Roerich II. Paintings donated by Kejriwal have been exhibited in the Kejriwal gallery.

Chitrakala Vidyalaya (College of Fine Arts)
Chitrakala Vidyalaya was started by MS Nanjunda Rao as an art-school in a small room in the locality of Basavanagudi, Mysore. Art enthusiasts would meet here to discuss topics of interest. This school was merged with Chitrakala Parishath in the year 1964 and later upgraded to the College of Fine Arts; affiliated with the Bangalore University. Some of the courses taught here are painting, sculpture, applied art, graphic art and art history. The college offers a graduation degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts. The Karnataka Government provided a 13-acre (53,000 m2) plot of land near Doddaballapur for this college. An extension of the college called Chitrakala Institute of Advanced Studies (CIAS) was also started to cater to the advanced studies in art. CIAS offers Master's degree in Fine Arts (MFA).

INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage)
INTACH is a cultural organisation established with the mandate or conservation and restoration of Indian heritage objects like historical buildings, paintings, art work and manuscripts. Some of the objectives of INTACH are:

  • To sensitize the public about the cultural legacy of India.
  • To protect and conserve heritage objects.
  • To document and catalogue historical buildings and other cultural objects
  • To develop policies and regulations to protect the heritage of the country.
  • To provide trainings in the field of conservation, restoration and preservation of specific works of art
  • To provide emergency response to save heritage objects in times of disaster.
  • To encourage partnerships and colloborations with other like-minded agencies and also to generate sponsorships.

The Bangalore centre of INTACH was established in the year 1993. Some of the important projects undertaken by this centre are:

  • Restoration of paintings of the Mysore Palace
  • Restoration of paintings by well know European Artists such as Degas and Rousseau
  • Pencil sketches of botanical specimens at the Horticultural Library, Bangalore
  • Restoration of oil paintings at the Bangalore Town Hall
  • Restoration of portraits at the Vidhana Soudha, Bangalore

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath Publications
Another important activity undertaken by the Parishath is to publish books related to art and culture. A book on Mysore paintings and its translated version in the Kannada language is one of the important publications by the Parishath. Some of the other publications brought out by the Parishat are:

  • A fully illustrated volume on Ganesha (in both English and Kannada)
  • Humanism in Art by Svetoslav Roerich
  • An illustrated album on Svetoslav Roerich
  • A catalogue showcasing Movement in Indian Art which was released to commemorate the 50 years of Indian Independence
  • A commemorative album to felicitate Mr. Nanjunda Rao
  • A volume on Leather Puppetry.

Chitra Santhe
Chitra Santhe is an annual event organised by the Parishath that attracts artists from all over India who showcase their artwork for sale to the public. It is held along the footpaths of the Kumara Krupa Road which gets occupied by artists selling items like paintings, porcelain, sculptures and other art objects. Some artists even offer on-the-spot portrait sketches of people interested in them.

Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath
College of Fine Arts
Art Complex, Kumara Krupa Road,
Bangalore 560 001
Phone Number: 080-22261816, 22263424

Both Long term and Short term courses are offered on Drawing and Painting.

Chitrakala Parishat Mysore -