There has been a fair amount of scholarship on the history of formal art education in India and the role played by colonial art schools of the 1900s. Located within or near important cities and centers of trade and governance such as Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, these schools taught a syllabus rooted in the values of Western art with a pedagogy structured around examinations. Both these aspects, prominent in other fields of colonial education as well, faced criticism from native educators, artists and social reformers in different parts of the country. The early 20th century saw these criticisms leading to the setting up of two major alternative educational institutions, which were rooted in the burgeoning nationalist movement of the time. These were the Santiniketan art school started by Rabindranath Tagore near Calcutta in 1919, and the Gujarat Vidyapith, established by Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad in 1920. These enterprises soon inspired other contemporary educators and thinkers, one of whom was Ravishankar Raval. Raval was a prominent Gujarati artist who took it upon himself to create new spaces and resources for art education, an area that had thus far remained exclusive and inaccessible under colonial administration. However, unlike Gandhi and Tagore, Raval’s vision took shape from within the mobile space of a print periodical called Kumar, whose words and images came to articulate new approaches to art education and writing.
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