Making Batik designs on cloth, saris and scarves and selling them as unique products helped this group of artists begin the Cholamandal Artists Village way back in 1965-66. “With half the ₹5000 we made from the sale, we bought half an acre of land in Injambakkam on East Coast Road (ECR). There was no electricity or even proper road there then. Only seven youngsters chose to come over. Now, over the years as artists sold their works, they contributed towards creating infrastructure and this space has grown,” recalled artist P. Gopinath, one of the founding members of the artists village.
The village is currently celebrating its 54th annual art exhibition and it is doing this with a new partnership with Google Arts and Culture. “Around 80 images of art work by artists, who were part of the Madras Movement from 1940 to 1985 have been made available online. These are are part of the Museum of Madras Movement here,” explained M. Senathipathi, another founding artist, who is also the president of the collective. The works of art including those of their teacher K.C.S. Paniker, can be accessed at https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/cholamandal-artists-village.
Works of artists such as Ramanujam, who used to draw on any kind of paper he could get hold of, Mr. Gopinath’s colourful semi- abstracts and Richard Jesudasan’s acrylic on canvas are available online. Only one work of Paniker is here, the rest are in a museum in Thiruvananthapuram. Similarly, when Ramanujam was alive nobody bought his paintings. But now there is so much of demand for his works, but we don’t have the pieces, lamented Mr. Gopinath and Mr. Senathipathi.
Sculptures of artists Paramasivam, Anila Jacob and Maria Antony Raj using, copper, brass, bronze teak wood and fibre glass find a place at the exhibition. A fresh crop of artists have joined the bandwagon and the works of S. Saravanan, G. Latha and R. Jacob Jeberaj too, are on display at the gallery on ECR, which visitors can view and enjoy.