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Resurrecting Public Spaces through Wall ArtsBy Smitha Jose
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‘Littering is for monkeys’- reads a wall. But I don’t know what it means- justifies an innocent (or maybe not) migrant who anyway does not care how those municipal walls and surroundings look. It is as if dirtying is every Indian’s birth right. From paan stains to the stench of urine, the public walls have been bearing them all. We shrug off the issue advising our Government to better look into the matter and the Government humbly requests its citizen to embrace public spaces as their own. The blame game continues and the so called public structures retires to mere lifeless spaces that with time end up as spots for relieving oneself or dumping trash.
But as there were, are now and ever shall be, ‘sensible people’ around us and within us, who cannot withstand this pitiful plight of those public structures and spaces that are of prime importance to the us. As they began their journey, they realised that the only thing that would help in changing this attitude was to change the look of these structures.
To make the place beautiful and adorable, these artists cum society lovers took their brushes and paints and made the walls their biggest canvas.
Here is how some of them have succeeded in making a big impact
Platforms at Sawai Madhopur Railway station, Rajasthan
You will get an idea of what to expect at the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve when your train stops at this tiny railway station of Sawai Madhopur. How? Well the platform walls say it all.
Gajanand Singh and Narayan Singh, the two brains behind this beautiful walls, with their bag of young artists from Ranthambhore School of art, have succeeded in turning this silent and dull walls into a 2D forest with majestic tigers, kingfishers, woodpeckers and a host of flora and fauna. Now, no one passes those platforms without sparing a minute to adore these wildlife and the wildlife artists behind the work.
Lodhi Garden, Delhi
Yogesh Saini, an Engineer and an MBA, during his routine jogging session at Lodhi Garden realised that the basic amenities this city cried for like a baby is going unutilised. The old trash cans were replaced with new ones hoping to see lesser littering. That too was unfortunately not helping. That was when the artist in him came out. Within a couple of hours, his talks with the MCD officials got him the permission to give these trash cans a stunning artistic makeover, which he believed would attract more eyeballs and persuade people to honour the efforts by using them.
With a team of enthusiastic artists, Yogesh Saini came up with Delhi Street Art which so far has orgainsed many ‘Street Art Saturdays’- an event which saw appreciable participation from the artists. These artists are awarded mementos and certificates jointly by the Delhi Street Art and MCD as a token of appreciation for sparing their time and sharing their creativity for making a difference.
With huge appreciation and support from the authorities and the general public, Delhi Street Art is growing and spreading out to beautify other public spaces.
Conquer the concrete
A public space in Mylapore becomes canvas for 'weird' - a painting by artist 'look'
And the Chennaiyians are saved a thousand times from facing those plain walls, dull and gigantic flyovers and railway stations, all smirking at them. All thanks to Conquer the Concrete movement – an initiative jointly taken by Goethe - Institute Chennai, Max Mueller Bhavan and Chennai City Connect, which is on a mission to give a happier look to the streets in Chennai. And they never kept this fun activity to themselves. The locals of the city were encouraged and invited to join their hands in giving their city a new face.
Street Art in Bengaluru
Bengaluru – the IT hub, never ceases to surprise us. With evolving culture and trends, great reverence for environment and the craze for music and art make it a second home for any one who steps into the city. It is as if the city is addicted to cleanliness, every street and lane does its best to make it a place worth revisiting. The streets, which are usually a calm and serene scene often flaunts some great graffiti work, wall paintings and murals that make them extraordinary.
The one below is a classic example. The wall of a dilapidated building in Malleshwaram gives a bold look with a painting done in emulsion by German artists and their Indian acquaintances.
Shankar Market, Delhi
Little did Delhites know that the blossoming malls in Connaught Place (CP) were to shine for a few days. With exorbitant pricing and the monotonous look they rendered to CP, they started missing those good old days spent wandering around in the circles and the famous Shankar Market- that was once a landmark. The MCD, taking pity of the situation, clubbed with Delhi Street Art to bring this peripheral market area back to life. The facades and the walls of many shops are adorned with incredible wall paintings that with a whimsical touch is sure to brighten up your face as you enter the market.
Hazaribagh Railway Station, Jharkand
Art is not bound by region. Nor is it a privilege reserved for the rich and the urban.
When the tribal artists of Jharkhand got to know that our PM was to visit the place to inaugurate the newly laid Hazaribagh- Koderma Railway lines, they thought to arrange a warm welcome for him. Spearheaded by CRPF Commandant of the 22nd Battalion, Munna Kumar Singh, the artists turned the railway station into an art gallery that exhibited their dying art forms Sohrai and Khobar. Again, this should not be mistaken for a usual painting. The colours used were natural, derived from the white, black and white soil which were painted on the walls with brooms and combs. A tribute to a dying art could not have gotten any better.
Whether we can be a hero like them or not, we can definitely be enthusiastic audience by honouring what they strive to do.
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