Artists rise to save MF Husain’s alma mater in Indore

  • Khushboo Joshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jul 17, 2016 20:19 IST
The dilapidated building of Government Institute of Fine Arts in Indore. (HT photo)

Bhopal’s artist fraternity has extended its support to an online campaign launched to save the Government Institute of Fine Arts (GIFA) in Indore which shot to fame for having schooled MF Husain.

The artists feel that the institute where MF Husain had learnt the first strokes has fallen prey to neglect and apathy. Besides, Husain, the institute has had eminent students like Devilal Patidar, Akhilesh, Hemant Waingankar, Harchandan Singh Bhatti and Narayan Shreedhar Bendre. The institute was established by late DD Devlalikar in 1927 and is one of the most significant art institutes of the country.

The online campaign named ‘Save Government Institute of Fine Arts Indore’ has been launched by an artist Avdhesh Yadav. Under the campaign a signed petition will be sent to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and other authorities.

“The institute is in dire state today. The administration has been boasting of taking its restoration into concern since many years but nothing countable has been done yet. Even the classes are currently held in a temporary building not fit for art education. It has small dingy rooms with seeping ceilings. Also, the college is devoid of teachers,” says Avadhesh Shrivastav, an ex-student of the institute and a famous artist.

He says, “I filed this petition for support on The current building where the classes are being held is a bit away from the heart of the city and is in a notorious area. While I was teaching there two years back, there have been several cases of girl students being harassed over there. All the organisations which were offered the building rejected it. It is in such bad state.”

Senior sculptor Devilal Patidar, says, “It is high time that the culture department realised the institute’s significance and improved its condition. We are ready to spend crores of money on various art festivals. But, there is none for the institute. There will be none to teach all this after senior artists of MP are no more.”

‘Govt should realise the importance of fine arts students’

Bhopal’s famous painter Akhilesh, who is credited to have showcased his art in Paris, Amsterdam and many other countries, says that the government should realise the importance of the fine arts students.

“They are less in number and therefore the administration is not bothered. Had they been considerable voters, they would not have to suffer so much,” he says.

“The problem is still with the mindset. People think an art school will just produce sketching and drawing artists or sculptors. But today, every industry needs a fine art professional, be it fashion, films, theatre, animation and so on. We have acclaimed set designers in Bollywood who have studied in GIFA.”

“A fine arts institute should be as important as an engineering college and the subject should be treated in a respectable manner. Things will better automatically,” he adds.

Harchandan Singh Bhatti, who played an important part in curating MP’s first Tribal Museum also hails from the institute and seeks a government intervention into the matter as soon as possible. “Multimedia is a great tool these days. Things that used to run in notesheets are now openly being discussed on social media forums. We have been fighting for long and I hope this time the department takes cognition,” he says.

The petition can be signed on and has so far received 62 supporters. Also, the Facebook page dedicated to Save GIFA has more than 600 supporters.

‘There is a meagre budget for restoration of old buildings in culture dept’

“The building is one of the heritage ones in MP and the culture department has already asked the PWD to make a plan for it. There is a meagre budget for restoration of old buildings in culture department and therefore things like this get delayed. But everyone should be hopeful for this year,” assures Manoj Shrivastav, culture secretary.

“Madhya Pradesh has given some stalwarts of art to this world in past. We should realise that something has gone wrong when we see no considerable name in the art field from here. Art needs inspiration and if we all inspire the aspiring art students as we motivate the students from other streams, who knows there will be another MF Husain in making,” Akhilesh says.

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