GARHI ARTIST STUDIOS (LALIT KALA AKADEMI)
New Delhi- 1976
The year 1976 also saw the government lending a helping hand to the arts. The regional centre of Lalit Kala Akademi established the studio at Garhi, and was named Kala Kuteer- to meet the needs of practising artists. The entire complex is located on the premises of a heritage site, locally known as Village Gargi Zharia Maria, in Delhi. The land for the Centre was allotted by the Delhi Development Authority for promotion of art activities. The Centre undertakes art activities of the surrounding regions and states. It was proposed as a reasonably priced, well-equipped communal studio, by sculptor Sankho Chaudhuri, who was also its first regional secretary. An artist has to pay a monthly rent of Rs 345 for community studios, and around Rs 1,000 per month for individual studios. One can access studio facilities, the basic infrastructure of the studios, and the camaraderie of working with other artists around.
Among other facilities, the print studio at Garhi is very prized; and the silkscreen facility was set up by Manjit Bawa. The walls of these studios have been privy to many enlightened conversations, and some great art makers like GR Santosh, J Swaminathan, Himmat Shah, Paramjit Singh, Jogen Choudhury, Chadda, Tapan Bhowmick, Mrinalini Mukherjee ,Gogi Saroj Pal and Damodaran. Richard Bartholomew, one of the secretaries of the Lalit Kala Akademy, brought art critics like Prayag Shukla and K G Goel to the studios. The studio became a space of mentorship, community, learning, and also studio practice.
The Garhi studio was given a Regional Centre status in the year 2000. Bureaucracy, red tape, and neglect have waned out not just the physical structure of the studios, but also the status and demand for the space.