Sprawl over an area of 10 acres of land, the Cholamandal Artists’ Village is the largest artist commune in India. It was established in 1966 and could be considered as an instance of abode of an artist to showcase their creation. Ideally a platform, the Madras Movement of Art really paved a way for Modernism and today the art of the village is recognized and appreciated throughout the world. Set at the hamlet Injambakkam, it is at a distance of around 9 km away from the main city and over 10 acres of land there are around 20 residents mostly painters and sculptors. They live in a community and have formed the Artists Handicraft Association to showcase their work in various exhibitions. The selling of product includes terracotta, paintings, sketches, stone, metal, sculptures, etc making the village a self supporting entity.
Behind the screen of community living, the name of K.C.S Paniker, the then Principal of the Madras School of Arts is taken with great respect and admiration as he along with his student started a community to encourage artist and to save the culture. Today it is considered as one of the artist village in India with skills artist presenting their work to different clients.
Evolution of the village
K.C.S Paniker, a noted metaphysical and abstract painter with some students started the community in 1966 and formed Artists Handicrafts Association to sell their works. Gradually they all started working together and later on they brought 8.5 acres of land for the purpose of making of village. In its initial days it was named after the Chola Dynasty and with little improvisation today it is famous as Cholamandal Artists’ Village. Electricity was provided in 1968 and till 1972 mud road was a usual affair of transportation. With an evolution of time and their skills they slowly built their own houses, gallery, theatre, workshop and kitchen making it complete for community living.
Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art
K.C.S Paniker, in his last days offered his oeuvre to the government of Madras on the condition that a separate gallery, be created to display his work when government was hesitant to response, Trivandrum art gallery took the offer and now it houses a ceremonial work and his important compilation. Artist of the village wanted their work to be displayed so the idea of museum came into existence; they raised funds from the private sector, the initial design was completed by Dutch couple and it was architect by Sheila Sri Prakash of Shilpa Architects and M. V. Devan. The Cholamandal Centre for Contemporary Art was officially opened on February 1st 2009 and today it holds the work of prominent artists like K.C.S Paniker, M. Senathipathi, Late A.P. Santhanaraj, P.S. Nandhan, S.G. Vasudev, K.V. Haridasan, Thotta Tharani, Sculptor S. Nandagopal, etc.
Cholamandal Artists’ Village has galleries, museums, open air theatre etc, the original Artists Handicrafts Association is still in charge of the colony, Sculptor S Nandagopal is a secretary of the village and son of K.C.S Paniker. 21 artists are still associated with the village and now they don’t accept new members.
From Golden Beach, the Cholamandal Artists’ Village is at a distance of 10 minutes , local transports are easily available beside that Chennai International airport is the nearest around the area.
10 Am till 5 pm opens daily.
20 Rs for Adults and INR 5 for minors