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Nurturing creativity

The JJ School of Art lends the right ambience to budding artists

india Updated: Jun 05, 2012 13:32 IST
Pankti Mehta

A green, open campus tucked safely away from Mumbai’s bustle, the JJ School of Art creates the right ambience for an aspiring artist. With natural surroundings, a heritage structure and a 153-year legacy, the school has given impetus to some of India’s greatest artists.

Founded in March 1857 with a donation by Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, the institution is one of the oldest art schools in Mumbai. In 1866, the government of India took over the management and started courses in decorative painting, modelling and ornamental wrought iron work. Twelve years later, the school shifted to its present campus, which includes the green ‘Dean’s Bungalow’, where author Rudyard Kipling was born. The campus has been given a Grade II heritage structure status by the Maharashtra government. In 1958, the school was divided into the JJ School of Art, Sir JJ School of Architecture and Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art.

JJ boasts a long list of notable alumni including legendary and contemporary artists such as MF Husain, Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Tyeb Mehta, Shilpa Gupta and Akbar Padamsee.

Faculty: About 40 teachers, plus non-teaching staff

Programmes:
Undergraduate - painting BFA, sculpture BFA, metal work BFA, textile design BFA, ceramics BFA, interior decoration BFA (all four-year programmes); postgraduate - painting MFA (by papers) in portraiture, painting MFA (by papers) in graphic, painting MFA (by papers) in creative, painting MFA (by papers) in mural; diplomas - sculpture and modelling (four years, full time, after foundation), art teacher (two years full time), art education (one year, full time); art master certificate (one year, full time)

USP: The alumni list is the college’s greatest strength, along with its brand value. The large campus has graffiti-painted walls, heritage structures and exhibition venues. Guest lecturers include prominent artists. The campus is close to some of Mumbai’s best museums and art galleries, which gives students networking and exploration opportunities

Infrastructure: There are libraries, laboratories and studios for each department, in addition to open spaces where students take their easels to paint.

There are two canteens on campus, one each in the commercial and fine art departments. Audio-visual facilities are available for presentations. There are separate women’s and men’s common rooms. There is also a gymkhana and gymnasium. A men’s hostel is located in Bandra, while one for women’s is at Charni Road.

IT Quotient: There are well-equipped computer laboratories in each department.

Clubs and societies:
N/A

Studentspeak: Sayali Lavekar, a second-year art teachers’ diploma student, says, “There’s a lot of freedom on campus. You can just go and paint anywhere you like. There are studios available too. The teaching method is such that you have to do most things yourself, since we are studying a practical subject. The beautiful campus really helps enhance creativity.”

Factfile
Founded in March 1857 with a donation by Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, the institution is one of the oldest art schools in Mumbai. In 1866, the government of India took over the management and started courses in decorative painting, modelling and ornamental wrought iron work. Twelve years later, the school shifted to its present campus, which includes the green ‘Dean’s Bungalow’, where author Rudyard Kipling was born. The campus has been given a Grade II heritage structure status by the Maharashtra government. In 1958, the school was divided into the JJ School of Art, Sir JJ School of Architecture and Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art.

It’s alumni include legendary and contemporary artists such as MF Husain, Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Tyeb Mehta, Shilpa Gupta and Akbar Padamsee

Wishlist
“It will be nice to have a subsidised stationery shop on campus. We have to go outside to buy art supplies, which wastes a lot of our time and money.

Renovation is also necessary, and a general clean-up of some areas of the campus that become very mucky in the rains”
- Sushmita Man, second-year fine arts student