Art, AMU and its Art Gallery


The history of Moinuddin Ahmad art gallery begins in the year 1928 when Prof. Moinuddin Ahmad got constructed this gallery in AMU campus. His vision was to disseminate the art of painting at Aligarh. It was his wish that his mission should be carried out in future by the committed and dedicated guardians of the Aligarh Muslim University.
After more than 50 years the vision and the mission of Moinuddin Ahmad had been accomplished by the visionaries Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah, the present VC of AMU and the Pro- vice chancellor Brig. Syed Ahmad Ali who executed the mission of Moiniuddin Ahmad by getting the building renovated. On the eve of Sir Syed day the 7th of October 2013 the gallery was inaugurated by Dr. Aziz Qureshi, Honorable Governor of Uttarakhand in the presence of Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor.
The growth of art largely depends on the growth of art galleries and art gallery is a platform which provides recognition to the artists. Today all the metropoli-tan cities are mushroomed with private government and semi-government art gallery which are taking Indian art business to international levels as most of them are big auction houses.
Initiation is rather more precise requirement of the time and not the reviv-al”, says Mushtaaq Wani, Professor, Aligarh Muslim university when asked about his opinion about the revival of art in AMU.
“Revival basically means that you had something really rich which at present is deteriorating”, he further adds.
Human being is linked to visual art from its roots. It was the first medium of conversation used by the early men and it still finds a very important role in human psychology. But in-spite of being so deep grounded in human beings; it is the most neglected form of art as observed within the campus of AMU.
Talking to Dr. Madhu Rani, HOD, Fine arts Department, I came to know that the history of Visual arts in AMU is quite old and the initiatives have had been taken for the development in the field back in 1954, by Dr. Rizvi, a pioneer and visionary teacher of AMU, who established the department of fine arts in Women’s college. Later with the passage of time it merged with the BFA and was shifted to main university campus.
The department of fine arts in AMU has many deep wounds that need heal-ing. It is not the lack of talent rather it’s the lack of opportunities provided to the students and lack of concern regarding this sector of education by the administration that is leading to the deterioration is what students comment-ed, to ConnectInk team.
“The scope of development is the unthinkable measure in this scenario”, said Rakhi, a student pursuing graduation in fine arts.
Korea and Nepal has been declared as the best examples of the progressive economic development. It has no centralization of art as a result each house has an artist who is polishing the inborn art within himself which in turn im-prove the economic conditions and help in the revival and development of art. The two minute fame culture which is prevailing in the minds of the majority of the innate artists is also the reason adding to the deterioration of art. AMU never had a school of art. University indeed gave many political thinkers, histo-rians, lawyers and other professionals but never a visual artist.
“Being a teacher I didn’t see any improvement or development in the field of visual arts in the last three decades within the University”, said Mushtaq Wani.
Intentionally or unintentionally a comparison is made with the well-established schools of visual arts like Shanti-Niketan and J.J. School of Arts that promoted their culture thereby helping to revive the visual art in India every minute through their efforts.
If we talk about Aligarh Muslim University, clear emphasis is on the profession-al courses and this is out of mere ignorance towards the visual arts. In fact this is the perception prevailing in India and the system that declares white collar jobs as the only respectable professions. Respect to the artist will come only if it will be incorporated within the system.
“An attempt by the university was taken way back by Moinnuddin Ahmad in the form of Moinuddin Ahmad art gallery which was inaugurated in 1928. The gallery displayed 330 paintings of the founder in its very first exhibition which later went missing when the baton of the vision and mission of Moinnuddin Ahmad was passed into the hands of university and the gallery was switched into a can-teen”, told Dr. Badar Jahan, coordinator, Art Gallery, AMU.
Mushtaaq Wani believes that what we need primarily is a factory where we can produce, mould and polish the artists instead of focusing on showrooms where the art is displayed.

                                            -Syeda Eba (BA Comm. English I year)

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