The State of Jammu and Kashmir is known for its Basohli Paintings all over the world. Recently the tradition of miniature paintings available in Kashmir has also been unearthed. The fresco paintings of Ramnagar (Jammu) and Alchi Gompa (Leh) are the living testimony to the flourishing traditions of painting in this part of the country.
But to keep pace with the modern world of art, it was thought expedient to organise schemes for the benefit of local artists so as to enable them to keep pace with their brother artists in rest of the world :-
Revival of Bhagat Theatre in Kashmir
'Bhand Pather' is the most accomplished folk performing art form of Kashmir. After independence, it got a setback due to various factors and its decline started. To arrest this decline, Academy stepped in with a scheme to provide subsidy to Kashmir Bhagat Theatre^ Akingam, Kashmir .
It was provided in the scheme that the Theatre will produce at least one new play every year and will give 12 performances of 'Bhand Jashan' in a year at the places identified by the Academy. The promise shown by this theatre attracted many more group.
Thus, the dying tradition was revived and today there are more than 32 theatre groups, which are committed to the upliftment and development of this most cherished folk form
Although Ram Leela, Bhagtan and Haran folk theatre forms were prevalent in Jammu and Bhand Pather in Kashmir, the modern drama was in its infancy in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar till sixties. To encourage staging of modern plays and in the interest of development of theatre, 'Theatre Festivals', were organised by the Academy.
Initially this activity was limited to the cities of Jammu & Srinagar but later on it was extended to all the districts of the State. Academy had sponsored scholars to National School of Drama, New Delhi for training in dramatics.
These NSD trained theatre workers co-ordinated the Theatre Festivals and provided much needed guidance to young and upcoming theatre workers.
Theatre and Playwrite Workshops
As the national and international theatre scene was changing rapidly so the need was fell to keep the local talent informed of these changes so as to improve their skills accordingly. To meet these requirements 'Theatre Workshops' are being organised by the Academy from time to time.
While as some of the workshops are being conducted primarily by the Drama Instructors of the Academy, at times faculty is invited from outside the Academy as well as State for the benefit of the trainees.
Recently Academy has started collaborating with Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, so as to attract best possible faculty. Similarly, to meet the shortage of stage plays in the regional languages, 'Playwright Workshops' are being organised by the Academy from time to time.
Local theatre groups are encouraged to use the play scripts produced in these workshops.
National Theatre Festivals
With a view to educate and bring the local theatre workers face to face with the best theatre groups in India, Academy has been organizing National Drama Festivals^
Generous support is being provided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi; National School of Drama, New Delhi and North Zone Cultural Centre, Patiala for organizing these festivals. It is heartening to note that the impact of these festivals had been so encouraging that there is ever increasing demand for such festivals.
Academy's Own Play Productions
Academy had been putting up shows of its own theatre productions with a view to bring more and more theatre workers, working in various groups, to one place and produce the best theatre. The experience gained by various theatre workers during these productions had an encouraging impact on them
We have a rich treasure of folk songs available in various regional languages of the State. To showcase these folk songs and dances, Academy has been organising Folk Festivals.
It is being done with a view to encourage the folk performers and keep their interest alive in this field. The results have been encouraging as is evident from the revival of 'Bhand Pather', 'Daastan', 'Chakkari' and 'Dhamali Dance' forms from Kashmir likewise 'Haran', 'Masadhe' and 'Geetru' etc. from Jammu region.
Whereas only connoisseurs have interest in classical music, the general public enjoys the light music. Keeping in view their interest and the importance of these art forms,Academy has been organizing Sham-i- Ghazal Mehfil-i- Qawali, Light Music Concerts and so on and so forth.
Top qawals, ghazal singers as also the light classical music singers are invited to render their compositions before the invited audience.
S/ Shri Shanker Shamboo Qawal, Aziz Warsi Qawal, Habib Painter Qawal, Rehmat Qawal and Aslam Sabari Qawal etc., had participated in Qawali Programmes and S/ Shri Talat Aziz, Ahmed Hussain Mohd. Hussain , Peenaz Masani, Seema Anil Sehgal etc. have rendered Ghazals in Sham-i-GVtflZfl/ programmes organised by the Academy.
Inter State Cultural Exchange Programme
With a view to promote cultural understanding between the State of J&K with rest of the country, Academy have been sponsoring cultural troupes to visit various States of the country.
These cultural troupes are drawn from all the three regions of the State and the items are selected so as to showcase the best of the State's cultural heritage. Similarly, other States are invited to perform in our State.
This exercise leads to cultural exchange, better understanding and national unity. The scheme is generally run in collaboration with Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi.
To encourage various age groups from among school and college going children, Academy has been organizing On-the-Spot Children's Music Competitions. Children are called upon to display their talent by presenting items based on classical music (vocal as well as instrumental). Besides, awarding certificates, cash awards are given to the children adjudged best by the jury. Detailed notice inviting entries is given in Appendix VII.
Summer Training Camps are also organised by the Academy to introduce children to the dramatics and dance. These camps are held for short durations during summer breaks. The response has been encouraging as the children are enthusiastic and willing workers.
International Visits State Cultural Troupes
In collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi the Academy had sponsored the visits of State Cultural Troupes to Germany, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, France, Malaysia, U.A.E and erstwhile U.S.S.R.etc.
Production Of Audio Cassettes
Around 1982-83, Academy had produced a record of Dina Nath Nadim's famous Kashmiri opera 'Vyeth' (Vitasata) in collaboration with HMV. Later on it was decided to give the public authentic folk music through cassettes. It served the dual purpose of preserving authentic folk tunes as also to record the voice of master folk singers for posterity.
The detail of the audio cassettes produced by the Academy is given here as under: -
- Kashmir Melodies Vol. I (Ms. Jehanara Janbaaz)
- Kashmir Melodies Vol. II (Sh. G.H. Sofi and Ustad Ali Mohd. Sheikh)
- Kashmiri Sufiyana Music (Ustad Ghulam Mohammed Saznawaz & Party)
- Dogri Lok Geet Vol. I
- Gojri Folk Songs
- Pahari Lok Geet
- Ladakhi Folk Songs
- Changer (Gojri & Pahari folk songs)
- Tembri Fulai (CD on Rehman Rahi's Kashmiri Poems)