Kalaikoodam: Insti Adds Art to its Palette


The weekend of 26th and 27th October saw a brand new entry to the wide-ranging  list of events to which IITM plays host: an art festival-of-sorts. Kalaikoodam, a Fine Arts Club initiative, is probably the first of its kind to be held in the Institute. Events comprised an interactive graffiti project by visual artist and photographer Vimal Chandran, a junk-art workshop by artist and sculptor Jacob Jebaraj, and a lecture on ‘Everything could be art, everyone could be an artist’ by artist Bose Krishnamachari. An exhibition displaying the works of artists in IITM was also conducted on both days.


Many passersby stopped and watched on the morning of 26th October as Vimal Chandran deftly applied swathes of spray-paint that transformed the rather drab wall of the photocopy shop. As a group of art enthusiasts consisting of both students and those from outside IITM listened to his tips and pitched in, a beautiful work of art emerged, captioned by one word: meliorism. It is defined as ‘the belief that the world can be made better by human effort’.  A single word or a piece of art may not change the world, but they sure can brighten up your day as you pass by the road beside Gurunath, and that’s a start.

Junk Art

Those who came to the Students’ Activity Centre at 2 pm on the 26th would’ve been surprised to see people working carefully with what looked like masses of discarded knickknacks. Paper cups, cans, cartons – all were used by those involved in the workshop to create art pieces, under the guidance of Jacob Jebaraj. At the end of the day, these creations became unconventional statements of art that questioned modern society’s gross consumerism.

Art, Art Everywhere

Bose Krishnamachari’s lecture on the 27th saw attendance by curators, reporters and art-lovers from all over Chennai, besides the students themselves. Held in the Media Resources Centre of the Central Library at 2 pm, the lecture introduced the audience to an array of acclaimed artists from all over the world who showed, indeed, that ‘Everything could be art, Everyone could be an artist’ through their acclaimed, boundary-defying work. Krishnamachari himself is a well known artist who recently added to his credentials the role of chief organizer of the Kochi-Muziris-Biennale. Through this lecture, he sought to show the students of IITM that aesthetics is present everywhere, from their technical fields of study to the most mundane aspects of their lives.

The Verdict

Kalaikoodam seems to have been a success: the artists found the experience highly gratifying, the Fine Arts Club received proposals for future artistic collaboration, and the exhibition became a platform for showcasing excellent work. In addition, the fest saw unprecedented participation from postgraduate and doctoral students. But the organizers expressed one major concern: UG freshmen were largely absent at the events. This is quite worrying for a flag-off venture that holds the potential to evolve into an annual affair, and the organizers hope for more enthusiastic participation from freshmen in subsequent editions of the event.

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