College of Fine Arts Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, is an educational institution of Government of Kerala (Department of Higher Education) and administered under the Directorate of Technical Education (D.T.E.), Thiruvananthapuram. It is an institution exclusively for visual art programmes and is the oldest Fine Arts College in Kerala. It is affiliated to the University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram and the courses are designed and structured by the University. The Degree Certificates are awarded by the University.
College of Fine Arts Kerala is well located in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city. It is situated in Palayam along the Mahatma Gandhi Road, next to the State Central Library and close to St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral, and diagonally opposite to the Chandrasekharan Nair Stadium. It is only 100 meters away from the Kerala State Legislative Assembly building compound.
Our campus is an eco-friendly green campus, with aesthetically designed heritage buildings. The new building complex with spacious art galleries, a few other studio buildings and the Boys Hostel are relatively newer additions.
Professional BFA Degree Course in 3 different specializations of Painting/ Sculpture/ Applied Art.
Course duration : 4 years.
MFA Degree Course in 2 different specializations of Painting/ Sculpture.
Course duration : 4 semesters. Each semester comprises of 90 days.
The College of Fine Arts Kerala was originally established as the ‘Dantha Āppis’ where ivory artefacts were produced for the royals and top brass of the administration. The edifice that houses the main block of the prestigious institution was constructed in 1888, during the reign of Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, the then Maharaja of erstwhile Travancore.
The history of formal Western academic art education in Travancore can be traced back to the last decades of nineteenth century. However, the history of Fine Arts College goes further back, connecting it with the guild of ivory craftsmen of Travancore.
The Travancore State Manual states that “…from 1048 M.E. (1872-73), there existed a school for carving in ivory attached to the Huzur Office. In 1060 M.E. (1884-85) the institution consisted of two designers, an accountant, five ivory carvers and a peon, the aggregate cost of the establishment not exceeding Rs. 112 per mensem. This, in process of time, developed into the Industrial School of Arts”. It was during the last decades of nineteenth century that the Dantha Āppis became known as the School of Arts, when it was thoroughly remodelled in line with the Madras School of Arts (present Government College of Fine Arts and Crafts, Egmore, Tamilnadu). In 1887-88, the Dantha Āppis was integrated with the newly founded School of Arts. The college was first known as H. H. The Maharaja’s School of Arts, Travancore. In the year 1063 (1887–88) Shri. K. Narayana Iyer was sent to study the working of the Madras School of Arts. He was later appointed as the first Superintendent of the newly-instituted School of Arts in Trivandrum later next year. Shri. M.R.Madhavan Unnithan headed the institution during 1920s. He was superintendent during 1920s up until 1930s. After him Shri. T.S. Seshadri was designated as the superintendent and appointed by the then Divan of Travancore, Sir. C.P. Ramaswami Iyer. Seshadri was a Travancore palace artist who was very famous for oil paintings and portraits. Shri. C.L. Porinchukutty, artist and former Principal of Fine Arts College says; “From its conception as the ‘Dantha Āppis’, the workspace for the ivory carvers, the School had given no priority to drawing and painting till the beginning of twentieth century. The School had wood carving, pottery and textile departments, which occupied much space within the small campus.”
Later, the pottery, carving and textile departments were relocated to Vattiyoorkavu. The campus at Palayam was set apart exclusively for Painting, Sculpture and Applied Arts departments.
Following the reorganization, the courses at the School was split into two sections; art and industrial branch. The industrial branch was associated with the manufacture of lacquer work, kuft-gari, carving on wood, ivory, horn, coconut shell, pottery and porcelain. There were a two years junior course and a two years senior course at that time. Initially it was under the department of education and by 1930s, it was brought under the department of Industries and later under the University of Travancore when it was newly founded. In 1957, after the formation of the state of Kerala, the first democratically elected government in Kerala brought the School of Arts under the new Directorate of Technical Education. In 1975, the school was upgraded as College of Fine Arts Kerala and later got affiliated to the University of Kerala. BFA courses in the disciplines of Painting, Sculpture and Applied Art were started. In 2001, the college celebrated its silver jubilee year with exhibitions, seminars and workshops. Over the years a number of distinguished artists and art educators of the country have nurtured the college, namely Krishna K. Hebbar, N. S. Bendre, Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh, K. G. Subramanian, A. Ramachandran, R.Sivakumar etc.
MFA course in Sculpture was introduced in 2004 and then in the year 2015 MFA course in Painting was also started. Over the passage of time College of Fine Arts Kerala became a leading institution of visual arts in the country, producing several successful and reputed artists and designers, some even world renowned presently.