The event being held annually since 1959 is a major public face occasion of the National Academy of Art. In recent years, in keeping with its national character, the choice of venue for this event has been shifted from New Delhi to centres of art located in the Regional Centres of the Lalit Kala Akademi as well as tier II cities pan-India.
'It is a chance for artists to get exposure and for the public to see the most innovative and interesting art from all over India,' said R M Palaniappan, secretary of Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Centre, Chennai, adding that the show was coming to Chennai after 17 years.
Painting, installation art, illustrations, photographs, prints and sculpture that reflect trends in contemporary Indian art are on display.
This year, more women artists have been included, says Palaniappan, who is a regular at the exhibitions that are usually held in New Delhi.
'It is also interesting to see that artists are focussing on forms rather than on colour though their work is highly abstract, he added.
The current showing of the National Exhibition has generated unprecedented support from the art community. A record 7723 exhibits from 3048 artists were received.
Of these 117 entries were short listed for display and the National Exhibition Awards. Artwork entries were received from all parts of India, including areas of the north east, where the earlier track record of participation had been somewhat slim.
The selection of artworks for the exhibition were made on the basis of the quality of execution, freshness of images, innovative use of materials, novel application of colour and freshness of stylistic markers in the works. These broad-based guidelines thus do not take into consideration any particular school of thought or execution and define contemporary art as a shared human heritage with an Indian orientation.
Ten artists, including S K Srinivasan from Tamilnadu were given awards. The awards included a citation and Rs one lakh in cash. The exhibition will be open to the public till 15 September between 11 am and 7 pm and entry is free.