Art, in a modern day context is thriving in India. Indian artists are making a mark globally by representing contemporary India in their works. With this growth of Indian art a support system to help in its further development is required and it is here that the contribution of organisations like The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi becomes essential. Art organizations need to emphasize art’s contribution to, and its relevance in, civil society. Arts organizations can assume the role of an illuminator through various means and over years the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi has been more than adequately contributing in this regard.
As an organisation, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, has been an instrument to encourage national and regional artists to thrive in their field. Founded in 1966, on the model of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi had Dr. M. S. Randhawa as its first Chairman. However for many years nothing of importance transpired from this organization until Dr. D. C. Bhattacharya took over as its Chairman. Along with his team, he resurrected the Akademi and since then there has been no looking back. Many artists and art historians have been involved in its activities and the Akademi has seen able chairmen like Shiv Singh, Dr. Alka Pande, Diwan Manna and Bheem Malhotra giving it strength in its development. It is during Mr. Diwan Manna’s chairmanship that the Akademi gained a nationwide recognition. Mr. Manna worked diligently to put Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi on top of the list of regional Akademies. Now under the Chairmanship of Bheem Malhotra the Akademi is retaining its tradition and substantial work has been done in the service of art.
Aimed at encouraging art and culture in the region, since many years the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi has been offering scholarships for budding artists and many young artists have benefitted from it. Scholarships are given in the field of visual and plastic arts in disciplines including drawing, graphics / printmaking, installation, multimedia, painting, photography and sculpture. The Akademi also holds exhibitions of local, national and international artists along with audio- video presentations, workshops, collaborated events and organises residency for budding artists. Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi has created achieve of video interviews of many top Indian artists and critics. It has also initiated the making of documentary films on many renowned local artists. The Akademi has an active website on which recorded videos of various events are regularly posted, serving as a plethora of information for art scholars.
It has been a tradition with the Akademi for more than three decades to hold an Annual exhibition. This exhibition generates a lot of excitement among the art fraternity of the tri-city. Entries are invited from the artists residing in the vicinity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchukula. Entries in hundreds are submitted every year out of which best and original works are selected. Some of the leading artists of the country are invited to select best works and awards under different categories are given. The prestige of this exhibition has risen over the past few decades and it is now one of the most prominent Exhibitions in the region.