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Record U: Sir JJ School Of Art
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- Step into this sprawling South Mumbai campus and you can’t help but marvel at the quiet grandeur of Sir J. J. School of Art, India’s first and oldest art school, founded in March 1857, with a generous donation offered by Sir Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy.
- The School is comprised of three divisions, namely, the Sir J.J. School of Fine Arts, the College of Architecture and the Institute of Applied Art.
- The first art class was started in March 1857. Other early courses included design and engraving, decorative painting, modeling, ornamental wrought iron work and draughtsmanship. Some of the subjects now taught here are sculpture, portraiture, graphics, illustration, photography, typography, visualization, interior design, and ceramics and pottery.

Whether it comes from the School’s rich legacy, or because of the constantly flowing creative juices all around, we found that music, art and culture were interlinked for all the students at J.J. Their musical tastes were varied but invariably they brought it back to art and learning. Here is what a faculty member and the students had to tell us about music and the arts on their campus.

Aashish Vilekar, lecturer/musician
This professor of visual arts is also a musician, having given his first public performance at age 3. Since then he has won awards for ghazal singing, composed jingles and background scores.

Tell us about music and art at J.J.
“Music is art and philosophical inquiry because it is a direct expression of will. Paintings are also considered to be direct expressions of will, so both are related. As a musician and teacher of visual arts, I really believe that both share a deep connection. And there is a common thread between the two and that is – ‘follow the principles, break the rules’.
About three years ago we decided to have special musical and cultural activities here organized by the SPICMACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth) institute. Big artists who the students can’t access come and perform here. I think the students are really appreciating the exposure and you can see the growth in them. I personally feel that there is a lot of physics involved in music. I am not a scientist so I don’t know exactly how it works, but music does affect your soul. It charges you up creatively so I can see how it is strongly related to art. At J.J. we believe that there should be expression of all kinds of art. It is very important.”

Nidhi Kamdar
3rd year, Commercial Art
Studying to be a Typographer/Animator
Music Pick: Likes slow songs. Favourite is Pehla Nasha from the film Jo Jeeta Woh Hi Sikander and Quit Playing Games With My Heart by the Backstreet Boys.
The J.J. Scene: “Music here is a social thing. People hang out in groups and chill out with guitars. We really look forward to Nashik Dhol, a true J.J. tradition. A group of dhol players is specially invited and the entire college participates in the festivities that follow. It’s great fun.”

Raman Adone
MFA Part 2
Studying to be a painter
Music Pick: Indian classical. Favourite artists are Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Ustad Bismillah Khan and Jagjit Singh.
The J.J. Scene: “Music inspires art constantly. A lot of people play music on campus, others join in even if they don’t really know how to play well. [Laughs] It’s all very easy-going. Also, here people’s individual styles are very strong. People tend to be independent and do their own thing. No one really cares about what others are thinking so everyone is kind of relaxed and free.
As far as learning goes, there is so much art and inspiration around, that you pick up a lot. There is serious respect for art here – and not just for painting or drawing but all kinds of art, be it music, drama or literature.”

Kavita Dicholkar
3rd year Commercial Art
Studying to be an Illustrator/Animator
Music Pick: Loves dance tracks since her hobby is dancing. Her favourite singers are Asha Bhosle and Sonu Nigam and one of her favourite tracks to groove to is Kambakht Ishq.
The J.J. Scene: “Something about the campus just lends itself well to music I think. There is someone or the other always playing music and lots of people will stand around and watch or sing along. It’s very cool that way.”

You can read the rest of our special feature Record University in the March 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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