Indian art schools: which to follow, which to avoid


An article recently published on takes a look at two Indian art schools and explains why one has lost its way and the other is nurturing promising art stars of the future: Sir J J School of Art and Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU).

Sir J J School of Art.

Sir J J School of Art.

Click here to read the original article, titled “154 years later, out-of-touch JJ needs art surgery”, on

The renowned Sir J J School of Art in Mumbai, an institution that produced master artists like Tyeb Mehta, S H Raza and Jitish Kallat, has lost its standing as India’s top art school, the article states, referencing the results of a study by “a leading art magazine”, ousted from the premiere art school spot by the Faculty of Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU).

Mumbai’s loss is Vadodara’s gain. Faculty of Fine Arts at MSU, set-up post independence and alma mater of artists such as Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Nasreen Mohamedi, Vivan Sundaram and Devraj Dakoji, has continued to add to the national artistic pride. MSU’s annual exhibition has become a must-attend for galleries and curators, including those in Mumbai. In the past fifteen years, MSU has produced stars such as Sarika Mehta, Kim Kyoung Ae, Satyanand Mohan, Sonatina Mendes and Hemali Bhuta.

The article lists a dearth of “intellectual vigour and passion,… a paucity of good teachers, a lack of vision, extreme government interference[,] too much focus on traditional disciplines” and even destruction of student’s work at Sir J J School of Art among the reasons for a lowering of the reputation of the institution.

What is MSU doing right? According to sources quoted in the article, the institution has a “respect” for the “spirit of art education” and boasts a faculty that is “clued into the contemporary scene” and nurtures independent thought and ways of working.

What qualities do you think an art school needs in order to adequately support their students? Or is the university model itself outdated, no matter what tweaks are made to curriculum and teaching methods? Leave your thoughts and comments below.


Related Topics: art schools, Indian artists, emerging artists

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