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Introduction

Lalit Kala Akademi, the National Academy of Art, was set up by the Government of India on 5 August, 1954, and was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, on 11 March, 1957. In pursuance of the objectives set out in the constitution, the organisation functions through its General Council, Executive Board and other Committees. Lalit Kala Akademi is the Government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India. It is an autonomous body, which is fully funded by the Ministry of Culture. The Akademi is an independent organisation and functions at arm’s length from the Government. It has substantial independence in making decisions related to national and international exhibitions, events and providing financial assistance to artists and art organisations through scholarships and grants.

Lalit Kala Akademi is an institution that has rendered service to the nation in the arts sphere long before the world woke up to the global impact of Indian art. It has established, preserved and documented a permanent collection of the highest order that reflects the vitality, complexity and unfolding patterns of modern and contemporary art in India. All through the year it presents exhibitions and educational programmes of unparalleled significance; sustains a library, art collection, archives, conservation laboratory, and supports scholars and publications of pre-eminent intellectual merit all over the country.

Central to the Akademi’s mission is the encouragement of a deeper understanding and enjoyment of modern and contemporary art by a diverse local, national and international audience that it serves. The National Exhibition of Art and the International Triennale India, are examples of such endeavours.

The Akademi is involved in a wide range of activities related to promoting Indian art and artists through programmes and strategic partnerships. The Akademi’s sincere commitment to the development of art is evident through the strong national and international programmes organised by the headquarters in New Delhi, and by the Centres situated at Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Garhi (New Delhi), Shimla and Shillong. Another major art promotional activity of the Akademi is to provide studios to Indian and International artists who work in various disciplines of art such as pintings, sculpture, graphics and ceramics. In Delhi, the Akademi administers the Garhi Artists’ Studios where approximately 150 artists work regularly.

While increasing opportunities for emerging artists, the Akademi fosters an appreciation of art and engagement of the audience with art and culture. It strongly focuses on shaping a future India in which art plays a meaningful role in everyday life. As a cultural body, encompassing the entire Indian subcontinent, it plays an important role to link diverse cultures of India to weave a magnificent cultural spread with colourful threads of creative genius and brilliant designs that delineate fascinating features of Indian life. The Akademi has been functioning with a panoramic view to involve all genres of visual creativity in their inter-relationship and relationship with diverse arts and sciences. The objectives and guidelines laid down by the founders of the Akademi envisage promotion of study and research in the field of creative arts. It has a vision that takes care of the traditional art of India as well as helping artists to imbibe many of the contemporary happenings on the international art scene.