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Academy of Fine Arts & Literature

The Academy of Fine Arts and Literature was established by 2 women, Ajeet Cour and Arpana Caur. A mother and daughter duo got together and established an institute out of their own flat in 1975. This academy was primarily aimed at creating an opportunity pool of vast creative experiences for the under privileged creative’s, especially young women and children.

Today, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature stands tall with hardly another to hold a candle to it. It is now situated in the Siri Institutional Area and has a vast campus sporting a much coveted library, an auditorium, free open spaces for practices and the Arpana Fine Arts Gallery.

The Arpana Fine Arts Gallery is a gallery that displays for free the art work of struggling unknown artists and differently-abled artists. The gallery unlike many others does not function on a sales commission basis. It has more than once hosted unknowns who have later become renowned and loved contributors to the international creative community. Having become the stepping stone for many a popular artists and writers into the international art community, the AFAL’s various scholarship programmes, course activities and facilities have become much sort after.

The heart behind AFAL is to cross culturally and uplift the talented. There are also 3 museums within the academies premises, The Miniature Museum, The Museum of Folk and Tribal Arts and The Arpana Permanent Collection. These museums are always open to the public and no entry fee is charged.


The AFAL was started in 1975 out of a flat contributed by the founders, Ajeet Cour and Arpana Caur. It was established as a nonprofit organization in 1977. What started off as a project to create aesthetic and creative space for the underprivileged was later approved upon by many famous writers, journalists, theater artists, cultural activists and painters, thus leading to its current popularity and growth. By 1986, the AFAL had established a registered trust providing stipend scholarship programs for struggling artists.

In its early years, the AFAL though a struggling academy managed to hire auditoriums for its artists and introduced great names like Jagjit Singh and Mirasan Nooran. It has over the past 38 years held dialogues ever so often, very faithfully. This has created a space for generational breeding of creativity and consistency.

The AFAL also runs a women’s empowerment centre under its subsidiary Indian Council for Poverty Alleviation. This organization has over the years helped many women and young girls, by providing vocational skills, informal education and many other training programs. Although AFAL was a registered society by 1977, ICPA was registered in 1991. AFAL and ICPA have been working together out of AFAL’s current address since 1995. The ICPA ‘s movement to empower domestic help and economically marginalized and establish for them a respectable and fair means of income has definitely revolutionized AFAL’s approach to education. Because of ICPA’s impact along with the many socially gratifying activities held within the AFAL, it was set up as a cultural and social activist institute.

The AFAL also served as a platform and facilitated the setting up of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature. The FOSWAL was registered in 1986 and since the partition of India and Pakistan, paved the way for Pakistani artists to set foot on Indian soil in 1987. It is the only peace promoting cultural organization which is a part of the SAARC APEX Body and is allowed under the SAARC LOGO to hold cultural and literature-related meetings within all the SAARC regions. The FOSWAL’s partnering with 8 other nations has greatly rewarded the AFAL. Its frequent exposure to artists, writers, journalists and theater artists from these sister nations has radicalized the academy’s standards.

Today, the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature has branched out as much more. Paving the way for many struggling artists and bringing out the rich tribal heritage of Indian art forms, the AFAL is truly a one of a kind reformist.

Offering classes like dance, art, acting, yoga and other journalistic workshops, the AFAL along with its fine art gallery is brewing an army of creative’s who would otherwise never even be discovered. It also has a publishing house that published a series of poets, novelists, short story writers, and play authors. The AFAL is also home to its subsidiary organization ICPA, the women’s empowerment movement started by its founders Ajeet Cour and Arpana Caur.

Its 3 impressive museums, AFAL’s philanthropic approach to artists and art, its free Fine Arts gallery and even  it’s one of a kind library packed with rare literature, though an absolute delight cannot be considered AFAL’s greatest. The fact that AFAL paved the way for the formation of FOSWAL under the SAARC banner, which has been functioning peacefully, consistently and cross culturally in 8 different nations since 1986, is its greatest accomplishment.


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