Cholamandal Artists’ Village By Bhagat, Ashrafi S.
The Cholamandal Artists’ Village is the residential-cum-cultural center situated in Injambakkam at Chennai, Tamilnadu, South India. Established by the artist K.C.S. Paniker [1911–1975] along with a group of his fellow artists in April 1966, it resides on 8.4 acres of land. The main aim in establishing this center was to offer artists the opportunity to practice professionally after graduation. This major concern led Paniker to think about establishing studio facilities or a commune where artists would have workspace and opportunities for interaction and creative experimentation, while simultaneously generating a parallel income by creating artistic crafts that would be sold through the Artists’ Handicrafts Association, which he founded in 1963. Among the first group of artists who moved into the village in May 1966 were K. Jayapal Panniker, V. Viswanathan, K.R. Harie, K.M. Adimoolam, C. Dakshinamoorthy, K. Ramanujam and A.C. Mamman. They lived and worked in trying and hazardous conditions. Others who settled there later included S.G. Vasudev, Paramasivam, P.S. Nandhan, K.V. Haridasan, and C. Douglas. Cholamandal also saw two women artists purchasing land with an avowed idea of marking their presence within a male dominated community. They were Anila Jacob and Arnawaz Driver. Today a museum has been established on the site, named after its founder. The K.C.S. Paniker Museum of Madras Movement contains many works of those seminal artists who contributed to the Madras Art Movement. Commercial galleries, Indigo and Labernum, offer space for exhibitions.