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Metro : Nearest Metro Station - 'Green Park(Yellow Line)' ( 10-12 mins. walk )
History and Objectives of the Academy as told to DelhiEvents.com by Respected Ajeet Cour Jee :
It was the beginning of 1975 and I was getting restless about the absence of sensitivity and space in Delhi for aesthetics : poetry, paintings, theatre, classical dance and music, and our folk traditions. And the colossal insensitive life-styles we were getting cocooned in, making us oblivious of all the pain and poverty which is all around us !
So I and my daughter Arpana Caur donated our personal flat, a large DDA dwelling in D-15, Saket , to open a free school for uneducated young daughters of all the floating labour from Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh involved in colossal construction activity which was going on all around. The aim was to give them basic non-formal education, awareness about health and sanitation, teaching them vocational skills to enable to earn respectable and dignified living.
For all the cultural programmes we hired auditoriums, and were able to introduce unusual talent like the ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and the folk singer Nooran to Delhi audience, way back in 1975, to give only a few examples.
Gradually like-minded prominent writers, painters, journalists, academicians, scholars, theatre artists and cultural activists started joining hands, and the association was formally registered in 1977.
The new building at 4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area came up with all our ancestral property and Arpana’s paintings, slowly over six-seven years.
In 1995 we moved our activities in our new building.
The aesthetically-designed Academy at 4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area, is a cultural and social activist institution. Besides several cultural activities, the Academy also undertakes community centred, socially aware, ideologically motivated, perspective-oriented community development programmes among economically backward women from urban slums.
The Academy has two large Art Galleries. These galleries are free for upcoming and talented artists and also for handicapped artists.
Even otherwise, only the electricity charges are paid by the artists. Three Museums are open free to the public daily, Folk and Tribal, Art Museum, Miniature painting Museum and a Museum of Arpana’s works of different periods.
A Free Library and Reading Room; an Amphitheatre for plays and poetry and symposiums; a Research Centre for Visual Arts and Literature; a Bharatanatyam Hall, a Kathak Hall, space and infrastructure for Painting Classes, Art Pottery classes; a Conference Hall for Literary Gatherings, Music Concerts, Plays, Dance Performances, Seminars, Book Release Functions and Discussion Group Meetings, Mushairas, and other important cultural events; infrastructure for Aesthetic Awareness Lectures, a hall for Yoga and Pranayam classes, a hall for Theatre Rehearsals; and a Women’s Empowerment Centre, are the other areas of activity of the Academy.
1. CULTURAL ACTIVITIES
§ Our Academy is the only cultural institution in Delhi which is an open house for all creative people who want to have literary gatherings, rehearsals of their plays, dance rehearsals, music concerts, literary gatherings, book releases, gatherings of painters for slide shows and talks, et al.
§ Literary activities are promoted through seminars, research, translations, publications and writers’ meets appropriately called DIALOGUE. And through a free Library and Reading Room located on the ground floor of the Academy.
§ The Academy has always been locating, chiseling and promoting young and upcoming talent in painting, music, dance, sculpture, theatre, ceramics, creative writing and translations by offering scholarships and organising their art exhibitions, dance performances, music concerts, plays, releasing new books, translations of important writings in different languages, etc.
§ Art exhibitions ranging from the paintings of Hussain, Souza and Raza to the work of young talented artists are organised in the Arpana Fine Arts Gallery of the Academy.
§ In the other gallery, Arpana Caur’s permanent collection of canvases, etchings, drawing, gouaches, etc. is on display, and these are not for sale.
§ The Academy also tries to bring college and school students to see important shows of renowned artists, to create awareness about art and a general aesthetic approach towards life.
§ ART EDUCATION : Regular subsidized classes in classical Dance and Painting, Ceramics and Sculpture, Theatre and Aesthetic Awareness, Pranayam and Yoga, are conducted by experts.
§ SOCIAL ACTIVITIES : WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT CENTRE
§ All these courses are free for the students from disadvantaged sections of society. Stipends are given to the talented among them. All these courses give an added vision to the creativity of interested students and provide opportunity to develop and improve their individual skills.
§ The Academy locates uneducated adolescent girls and women from the surrounding slums, who are usually scrubbing and cleaning in the wealthy houses in the neighbouring posh colonies.
We bring them in our hired buses to the Academy, and give them compact and condensed six-month non-formal education courses and also training in vocational skills.
§ CREATING CULTURAL CONNECTIVITY IN THE SAARC REGION
With the First-ever SAARC WRITERS CONFERENCE in April 2000, the Academy has extended its area of dialogue and interaction among the creative minds of eight sister countries : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As a result, the Academy has launched a permanent FOUNDATION OF SAARC WRITERS AND LITERATURE (FOSWAL) which is an APEX BODY OF SAARC.
Foundation is the only organisation in eight SAARC countries : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legally authorized to organize literature-related and cultural interactions, Seminars, Conferences, Festivals, under the SAARC banner and with the SAARC logo.
§ OTHER COLLEAGUES AT THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE ACADEMY
§ Mr. Khushwant Singh
§ Dr. Abid Hussain
§ Ms. Arpana Caur
§ Ms. Mahasveta Devi
§ Dr. Namwar Singh
§ Mr. Lalit Mansingh
§ Dr. J.P. Das
§ Dr. J.S. Bajaj
§ Mr. Farouque Shaikh
§ Prof. K. Satchidanandan
§ Dr. Ashok Vajpeyi