Friday, February 22, 2013

Wall arts. Will they be back in Chennai?

Compound walls are always the face of any building. Be it a small house, a bungalow or a landmark building.
Some prefer to have the walls plain and put up terracotta tiles to give them a look of a heritage house.

These days, graffiti on private walls are rare to see.
We always had great painting tradition on the walls. The murals, the warli art of Maharashtra and the madhubani paintings on the mud walls in the interior Bihar are artistic expressions of common people even now.

A few years ago, artists in Mumbai joined hands and started painting the walls of private houses and institutions. The Mumbai Wall Project, founded by Dhanya Pilo, who caught up with the artists and public very quickly and as they were looking at the great wall along the Tulsi Pipe Road between Mahim and Matunga (West) railway stations, the city fathers invited them to just paint up the wall!

Mumbai is open to creative projects in many fields. Art is just one among them. The characters the city has in the form of the historical buildings and the style of living perhaps allow art to be pat of their daily life. The annual Kala Ghoda Arts festival is a testimony of the love for arts the people of Mumbai have.

The Tatas have lapped up the concept and began involving themselves in such creative art projects. Last year they hosted 'Mumbai Wallbook' to paint up a two kilometer wall stretch from Mahim Railway station.
I just received a Press notification from Tata Housing Development Company (THDC) about the upcoming 'Delhi Wallbook' event. Now their canvas will be the one kilometre wall along the North Campus of the Delhi University, University Road, Maurice Nagar. About 500 artists are expected to paint the wall this Sunday, Feb. 24. Strictly only art, no text, no product, politics or whatsoever!

Chennai too has long private and public walls.
I used to look up the walls of Theosophical Society on either side of Besant Avenue.
Brightly painted in yellow is the Chepauk stadium wall ...
Chennai too had its wall paintings along the long walls on the Mount Road. The previous DMK Government had decided to decorate the walls with paintings when the Supreme Court banned posters. While the paintings withered in the rains and shines, political and promotional graffiti slowly overtook the space. And as ever, the decision by a new Government is not to redo or repair the paintings but to whitewash them.

We still have space on the walls of private houses. The walls of the new gated community apartments make good space for arts. The trendy malls can also offer that space for arts.

Tatas, are you listening? Turn your eyes on Chennai after you are done with your Delhi project. We do have long walls in the culturally rich Chennai city!


Susan Deborah said...

Can't citizens come together and do it? Perhaps a group of artists coming together and painting the walls?

I like seeing colourful walls.

Glad that you wrote a post.

Joy always,

Anonymous said...

In Tiruvanmiyur MRTS station there was this photographic exhibition kind of thing. All the walls were adjourned by local artist's photographs and it was treat to watch. But the public was not cooperative, they spit pans, puked on them etc etc. After few days the photos printed on the walls were torn down. I dont know whether the corporation did it or the artist themselves. It did happen but did not sustain. I see a graffiti culture by unknown painters in Pondy. Once started the trail to track them only to be chased away by police. But should do it again.

Destination Infinity said...

When the semmozhi conference was held, compound walls along main roads got a huge fillip both in Chennai and Coimbatore. Even now, I see some good paintings along compound walls (esp. govt inst) along the mount road. This wall painting thing is a good idea, the govt. can pay the artists some money for it.

Destination Infinity

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