Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, established in 1962, with the objective of conserving and promoting visual arts: painting, sculpture, architecture, and graphics, is an autonomous cultural organization of the Government of Kerala.
Those who have steered the course of history since its inception 28/11/’62, are magnetic personalities in their chosen fields. The line traces its history back to the great artist Raja Ravi Varma, as his son M Rama Varma Raja chaired the first committee. Ever since, celebrities have presided over its undertakings and projects.
The Akademi Complex
The Kerala Lalithakala Akademi Complex, designed by the renowned architect Lauri Baker, has the stamp of Kerala’s indigenous architecture. The head-office complex graces the cultural capital of Kerala with its Art Gallery, Reference Library, Archives, and Guest House.
Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi, is a gallery non-parallel in South India. Exquisitely designed for lighting and display, this heritage building from the Maharajas of Kochi is a prestigious gallery of the Akademi.
The Akademi has art galleries in various places around the State including Thiruvananthapuram, Kilimanoor, Kayamkulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kodungalloor, Nedumbassery, Kaladi, Malampuzha, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Thalassery,Kanjangadu and Mananthavaadi.
At its headquarters, Thrissur, the Akademi has its own archives as well as a documentation centre. Durbar Hall Art Centre, Ernakulam, one of the most spectacular art gallery in South India, CARE at Ernakulam, a unique reference library and research centre, cultural centre featuring the works of Raja Ravi Varma at Kilimaanoor, art village at Kakkananpara in Srikandapuram located in the district of Kannur, and cartoon museum at Kayamkulam adds to the assets of the Akademi.
Today, the Akademi is a centre for cultural, artistic, and educational activities spilling over to other fields like cartoon and photography. While preserving Kerala’s unique traditional fine arts, the contemporary art scene is updated by bringing artists to camps, workshops, exhibitions and seminars.
The Akademi is governed by a committee of 19 eminent members - leading lights of the times in art and culture, great artists and representatives from cultural organizations. To promote sustained artistic ventures, it supports artists by providing space for exhibitions and honoring them with awards, fellowships and scholarships.
Tribal and indigenous artists and art-forms are brought to limelight revealing the diversity and the richness of our cultural heritage. Co-operation and collaboration with art-organizations and other institutions bring about cultural awareness and encouragement.
The Akademi also promotes research and publication. It organizes summer classes on art and craft for children; conducts seminars to create art awareness and its deeper and subtler values in society.
The Akademi has brought out publications on art and monographs of renowned artist and is also publishing a monthly magazine ‘Chitravartha’ which portrays the programmes organized by the Akademi with write ups of eminent artists.
Every year the Akademi awards various fellowships and awards. The Akademi had bestowed various other prizes including state awards, as well as the Sonabhai Rajwar Prize, the K. C. S. Panikkar Prize and the Padmini Prize till recent past.
Across the state, sculpture gardens were installed at the instance of the Akademi in co-operation with other departments and local bodies. Silavatika (Palakkad), Sculpture city (Kozhikode), Baston Bunglow Sculpture garden (Fort Kochi) are worthwhile mentioning.
Inclusion of works of senior sculptors like Sri.Rajendra Thikku, P.K. Rajan, K.S. Radhakrishnan and Rajasekharan Nair enhances the charm of these sculpture parks. To add to this, enthralling public sculptures are installed in the premises of Kayamkulam Cartoon Museum, Kilimanoor Raja Ravivarma memorial art gallery and at Vaikom as a tribute to Vaikkom Satyagraha.
Yet another innovating venture of the Akademi was the magical transformation of Kottayam as the first mural city by organizing an international mural camp.
Durbar Hall among other daily exhibitions had hosted the modern Indian Art exhibition and exhibition of acclaimed artist like Sri.K.G. Subramanian. Other galleries are also hosting several exhibitions.
‘Moving Art Gallery’ which is the first of its kind in India is intended to promote art by reaching out to the local folks across Kerala enabling them to enjoy the rich artistic works of talented artists at their doorsteps,