In Kashmir valley, affiliation of music and fine art with people have been there for past many decades and to contour it, Institute of Music and Fine Arts (IMFA) at University of Kashmir is imparting training in applied art, painting, sculpture, Indian classical vocal, Tabla, Sitar, Santoor and Santoor Sufiyana.
The student at the institute says that with the shift in paradigm of choosing professional platforms of education, IMFA have fashioned their art and skills professionally.
One of the students of fine arts at IMFA, Mehak Mubeen says her interest in fine arts developed when she was studying in DPS Budgam.
“At the school level, we were only being taught the general studies of the fine arts subject. Soon after I qualified my 12th standard, I got enrolled in IMFA. At this institute, I felt like the art I was only aware of started speaking volumes,” she said.
Mehak said that in the first year the students have to go through foundation classes in which they are being taught every subject. She was quite interested in landscapes and crafts and in the second year of her degree, she was supposed to choose the specialization and she choose the applied arts subject as per her interests.
24-year-old, Mehak says that most of the colleges and schools are yet to start the music and fine arts subjects because the majority of the schools are following the curriculum of NCERT and only a few institutions are affiliated to the CBSE.
IMFA have been training students in music and fine arts from past 57 years and have a record of producing highest number of artists. The institute has so far produced nearly 500 artists that are not only serving in the field of art and entertainment but are also pioneering in academics.
In-charge Principal of IMFA, Dr Rubi Zutshi said that the institute was imparting education in applied art, painting, sculpture, vocal (Indian Classical), Tabla (Indian Classical), Sitar (Indian Classical), Santoor (Indian Classical) and Santoor sufiyana.
Although the music subject is being taught in colleges as well but this is a complete institution wherein the students get specialization in their respective areas.
Zutshi says that since the establishment of IMFA, more students were opting for Music till 2010-11 but afterwards, there was a change in paradigm and most of the students started opting for Fine Art. “We have eight disciplines here, five are from Music and three are from Fine Arts.”
“In past few years, most of the students opted for studies in fine art. Among the new batch of students who have sought admission includes 32 from fine arts and 12 have opted for Music,” she said, adding “From the fresh list, only 12 students have opted for Music subject, therefore there will be no entrance test for this subject but for Fine Art, we have received more applications than the intake capacity, therefore we have to conduct the entrance test for this subject only.”
With an intake capacity of 50 students in Music and 30 in Fine Art, the institute currently has at least 120 students enrolled to study the four year course in Music and Fine Art respectively.
Zutshi says that as per the University statutes, in the first three years, IMFA evaluates the students but in the final Year, KU is evaluating the students of the institute.
“The only problem is that the students are getting certificates for their final year only. We want the university to club the first three years too with the degree certificate,” she said.
The institute was established in the year 1965 under the auspices of Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages to provide opportunities to talented youth of the valley to develop their faculties to become Painters, Sculptors, Graphic Designers and Musicians.In 1974, the institute got affiliated to Kashmir University and regular courses leading to the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music were started in 1975.
In the institute, at least 18 permanent professionals teaching faculty in Music and Fine Art continue to impart the education. “In painting subject, we have four teachers, three in applied art, two in Sculpture (both contractual), one teacher in history of art, four in vocal, five in Tabla, three in Sitar, one in Santoor Sufiyana, one in Santoor Indian Classical and one Rabab player,” Zutshi said.
Famous alumni of IMFA
Dr. Waseem Mushtaq:In 2000 Mushtaq completed his bachelor’s in fine arts in Painting, from IMFA. Later, he joined the department of Fine Arts at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)in 2004 as an Assistant Professor. In 2017 he was appointed as Associate Professor in the Fine Arts Section, Women's College AMU.
As an artist, Mushtaq’s exhibitions have been sponsored by some of the reputed art galleries of India, such as Art Heritage, Trevini Kala Sangam, New Delhi, British Council, Vision, the Center of Art in New Delhi, Nandan Gallery, Santiniketan, L.K.K. Lucknow.
Among the international artists workshops and residencies that Dr. Waseem has participated, the most notable are: 'Khoj Kasheer' and 'Imagine Peace!' both organised by KHOJ, International Artists' Association, New Delhi.
Four of his art-videos were screened at the special event in the department of Visual Culture, Goldsmiths London.
In 2012 he participated by invitation in the International Art Exhibition "Char Adhayar', organised by Shantiniketan Friends in collaboration with Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation and SAARC at National Gallery, Colombo. In 2014 his Solo-Show of Paintings was sponsored by J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages at Kashmir University.In 2018 he participated as an invited artist in the Srinagar Biennale International art festival.
Sajad H Hamdani: Hamdani is an artist, Sculptor, Poet, Painter, Film Maker and Graphic Designer. He completed his BFA in Sculpture from IMFA in the year 2000 and MFA in Sculpture from Visva-Bharati University Santiniketan in the year 2003.Later, he taught in Roong-Aroon School at Bangkok for two years. After returning back from Thailand in 2006 Sajad made few documentary films on folk music of Kashmir and also taught in the faculty of Fine Arts.Currently, he is working as Assistant Professor at Visva-Bharati University.
Mir Suhail: Alumni of IMFA, Suhail is a graphic designer, illustrator, and cartoonist with over fifteen years of work experience. His works has appeared in international agencies.
Malik Sajad: Sajad is a graphic novelist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. His debut graphic novel, ‘Munnu—A Boy from Kashmir’ was released with critical acclaims and won the ‘Verve Story Teller of the Year award’.
His debut novel was made a part of the permanent collection at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Sajad was 14 when he started working as a cartoonist for a regional newspaper.
Rashid Jehangir: One of the famous singers from Doda district of Jammu, Rashid is one of favorite singers among the youth for his melodious compositions.
Among the popular music albums of Rashid, Firaaq that was released in 2000, Tanha in 2002, Intezaar in 2004 and Hasrat in 2007 stands at the top of list. He has also sung for many Kashmiri drama serials. In 2005, the cultural academy appointed Rashid as Research Assistant.
Kifayat Faheem: The writer, composer and a singer is an alumni of IMFA. Faheem is an experienced singer with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment industry.
Skilled in photography, art, graphic design, art direction, and drawing, Faheem has pursued BMus (Classical vocal) and M A Urdu with focus on music and languages from Kashmir university.