Bangalore - the silicon valley of India – has a tech savvy urban society who live by the rule “work hard and play harder”. There are numerous technology companies in Bangalore and an equally numerous malls, pubs and restaurants. However, Bangalore has a cultural inner core, which is refined and artistic. The city which looks like in madness with its jammed roads and bustling streets has a soul which is quiet contrary to the external appearance. Bangalore was always a city of elegance. This article is about some of the not-so-well-known establishments of Bangalore which upheld the artistic spirit but sadly overshadowed by the glittery malls.
Recently I took an artistic pilgrimage through some of the Bangalore’s art galleries in search of the aesthetic Bangalore. I was not disappointed, but only owed by the fact that after being in Bangalore for years, it took me so long to discover these beautiful places.
National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)
NGMA is located at the palace road, next to the mansion of the Chief Secretary of Karnataka state. Spread over 3 acres of land consisting of beautiful buildings and huge trees, NGMA is a perfect place to sit and relax for few hours and relish the great works by pioneer Indian painters.
|NGMA Main Gallery|
As you enter the gate of NGMA, you can feel that refreshing air and the hospitality of gallery staff.
The entry fee to the gallery is 10rupess.There is a small art and souvenir store located at the reception building.
|Reception of NGMA|
The main art complex is located in a stunning British style mansion named Manikyavelu mansion. The white painted exteriors and tall columns of the mansion reminded me of the British colonial days.
Photography is prohibited inside the exhibition halls and I felt it is right thing to do to upkeep the serenity of the place. They have a beautiful collection of paintings from Rajaput miniature style, British colonial traveling artists, Bengal school, post-independence modern art reflecting the progression of contemporary arts in India.
Some of the world renowned painters like Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gill, Rabindranath Tagor, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy are featured in the galleries of NGMA.
|Jamini Roy Exhibition poster|
Apart from the great artists, what I found really enchanting was the deep and stunning works of the artists from the modern times. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand what the artist really meant, nevertheless it gives a lot to contemplate.
NGMA also conducts occasional well-curated painting and photo exhibitions of renowned artists. When I visited NGMA first time, there was a photo exhibition of pre-independence India. As a history enthusiast, I quite enjoyed it. This time when we went there, the exhibition of the Jamini Roy’s life time work was going on.
The NGMA campus is so soothing and relaxing. They have a decent cafeteria and a good library. If you are inclined to the painting and photography, NGMA is a place at least worth visiting once.
|You can also refuel your Oxygen level as you visit NGMA!!|
|Cafeteria At NGMA, Bangalore|
Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath
The Chitrakala Parishath of Bangalore is quite a popular hangout place of art lovers and intellectuals of Bangalore. It is located at the Kumara Krupa Road which is quite closer to the MG road.
As you walk along the compound wall of the Chitrakala Parishath, there are some interesting artifacts silently inviting you to the campus. I found them very creative. It is quite amazing to see how the rough and boring automobile parts have turned into beautiful art.
When we enter into the campus and approach the main building, there is this installation, including the sculpture of a human trying to break free from the labyrinth of possibly his own constraining thoughts. Every person is in a quest for freeing themselves.
Once we enter into the main building, near the ticket counter there is an art shop where paintings can be purchased.
The galleries are at the upper floors of the building. Like NGMA, photography inside a gallery is strictly prohibited. It is quite an uneasy feeling when the staff keenly observes each and every move of yours with suspicion. I couldn’t quite like the staff at Chitrakala Parishath galleries.
There are 13 galleries. A large collection of paintings of Russian artist Nicholas Roerich is exhibited at the gallery. His vibrant paintings of Himalayas are especially notable. The Kejriwal collection gallery features the paintings from the Bangal school like the folk paintings, Kalighat drawings, Santhal Pat (scrolls) and Patta Chitra rolls. As there is no photography allowed inside, it’s tough to describe how good and huge each of these galleries are.
It would at least take an hour to just glance through the huge collection of paintings in the 13 galleries. For those who want to understand and relish the paintings it might even take a day! There is a decent cafeteria known as ”Kamat Kalaruchi”. Some might find it not up to the mark. However it is good enough for a quick bite.
One notable place within the campus is the Bhaskar Art Center. They are probably the largest art suppliers in Bangalore. I have visited this shop many times with my sister – who is an art student. The shop always seems to have all the art supplies she ever needed. The shop is quite cheerful with all its effervescent colors and artists.
Kynkyny Art Gallery
My third art destination was the Kynkyny Art Gallery. It is located in the infantry road in the elegant embassy square mansion. It is not a big art gallery, but their collections are quite exhaustive. They also conduct art exhibitions of renowned artists from all over India. One can find a large collection of paintings put up for sale in this art gallery.
|embassy square mansion reminded me of the sets of Hindi movies!|
When I visited Kynkyny, there was an exhibition named “Noir” was going on. Mesmerizing sketches of renowned contemporary artist Shankar Kendale was on display. It was a stunning black and white collection with the theme of Indian rustic life.
The gallery staff is quite friendly and they leave you alone to enjoy their gallery in solitude.
There are also some pieces of furniture on sale. I found the below piece very attractive. If I ever needed to buy a painting, by first destination would be Kynkyny.
There are many more art galleries all around Bangalore, and I am yet to explore many of them. However the above three places is especially noteworthy. It would make an ideal destination for a half day tour if you appreciate paintings and contemporary art.