RKM-Swachh M’luru’ Artists Bring Awareness Among Public Through Murals
Ramakrishna Math Swachh Mangaluru Abhiyan artists bring awareness among Public through Murals painted on the 1350 ft wall stretching from Wenlock Hospital to Clock Tower-Mangaluru, as part of 200th Swachh Mangaluru Campaign. Bollywood Actor Nana Patekar, along with Swamiji Nikeleshwarananda from Ramakrishna Math-Baroda Swami, and other eminent personalities was inaugurated on February 12, 2017.
Mangaluru: A wall is a wall, whether it is plain, peeling or broken. But it is much more when it is painted with flowers, peoples culture and tradition, Environment awareness, citizens lifestyle, animals and mystical beings. It is called Street Art. And you can see Street Art on the walls of Wenlock Hospital, near Hampankatta circle until the Clock Tower Interacting with the elements of the city is not just about putting art on the walls. Graffiti also has gone way beyond the single dimension of the wall and we can find paintings in other urban elements, turning corners and playing with perspectives creating dramatic effects and original dynamic scenes. This is Street Art.
The principal objective of Muralwas to prevent littering, urinating, pasting film and advertisement posters on the walls, and also for beautification of the city. The project was also aimed at promoting tourism. Curious about fun painted walls coming up around you in Mangaluru city? This is the handiwork of the growing tribe of artists who mix message with fun. White cube is not passé but there are those who want to go beyond, whose canvas don’t fit into the confines of a gallery. In Mangaluru, this clique of young and restless are claiming the streets and walls and literally painting the town red. Look around and you will find it everywhere. On the walls of dilapidated buildings and walls, under flyovers, colleges, and even on the walls of a College and police station. The city is lapping up street art like never before. Artists’ takes on urban life, auto rides, culture and politics now adorn various spots in the city.
And one such dilapidated wall that got a face lift with amazing murals is the 1350 ft long compound wall from Government Wenlock Hospital till the Clock Tower in the City. A team of 25 plus artists and volunteers under the leadership of Shailesh from Aaditatva Arts-Mangaluru geared up to give a new look to this compound wall. With only about 200-300 ft left to paint this wall, the artists have given a extreme-makeover to this wall with paintings showing Kambla (Buffalo Race), Culture and Tradition of Kudla, City’s Coastline, Venkataramana Temple Car Festival etc, and also messages to bring awareness on keeping Mangaluru clean. These artists are also infusing the neglected and dilapidated walls with new life.
These artists are working in association with Ramakrishna Math in painting this wall which marked the celebration of the 200th Swachh Mangaluru campaign of the Math on February12, 2017. This Swachh Mangaluru Abhiyan started last year on October 2 in which 60 teams are involved, and every Sunday, ten teams take up the drive in ten different locations. As of now, the clean up activities as part of Swachh Mangaluru campaign has already been done in 208 locations. These artists of from Aaditatva Arts-Mangaluru and Mahalas Arts School- Mangaluru, under the leadership of Shailseh Kotian and Vikram Shetty have in the past done painting on few walls around the City. Many citizens have appreciated and complimented the great art-work of these artists on public walls, which aim in bringing awareness on various issues.
Among the murals, a non-functional electric transformer on the University Compound wall has been painted to resemble a cupboard filled with books. The faces of two kids are drawn on either side of the cupboard, as if calling to read books. Quite a unique idea of the artists! Also on the centre of this compound wall is the painting of Ravindra Kalabhavan, which is now being renovated. There are also paintings on tribal dance, education, water conservation and Swachh Mangaluru campaign. There is a mural related to prevention of Malaria, painted on Wenlock Hospital compound wall.
Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Artist Shailesh of Aaditava Arts said, ” Apart from presenting kambla and kooli anka (cock fight), our paintings have messages related to education and about the objective of Swachh Mangaluru. The paintings on the compound wall of Government Wenlock Hospital will be on health. We have used rich Prime colours to make these are decorative art forms more appealing. We have been painting several walls in the city with a view to sensitize people about keeping the city clean and beautiful. This is a voluntary work and we use normal acrylic paints for our masterpieces. The idea behind the art work is to preserve an art form and also create awareness among the people to preserve their surroundings and lead a healthy life.The initiative is aimed at keeping the area from turning into a garbage dump. Our team plans to give a makeover to other such neglected areas in the city as well.”
Also speaking to Team Mangalorean, Eekagamyananda, convenor, Swachh Mangaluru campaign said, ” The Swachh Mangaluru campaign has attracted many youngsters and thereby inspiring them to work for society. We hope this cleaning drive sends a positive image of city that is in news for wrong reasons. Giving a facelift to the walls along the busy roads is the best way to express seriousness of the residents of Mangaluru in keeping the city clean. This is also a way for artists, who are associated with Swachh Mangaluru for several weeks, to display their art. The walls are being painted to send a message of harmony, peace and progress, which are the essence of our social lives. These artists are giving a new look to the Kottara flyover too”.
Inconclusive, as per my perspective, ” Message on the wall through creative paintings is a well-thought idea. Also, brings awareness among the people to keep the city tidy. Everything is about photography and digital images today. This is a different type of art. People, especially children, do not get a chance to see things of beauty, so all this will be converted to good ideas. On the other hand, the deplorable state of the paintings is easily noticed by the general public. But sadly some of the earlier paintings on the city walls are faded and covered in dust, few posters, streaks of urine and gobs of spit: That’s how the city corporation’s imaginative project to decorate the city has ended up. The condition of some of the past paintings on the walls is very bad. At some places, the paintings are covered by paan spit and posters. MCC should renovate them as the paintings looked really good when they were fresh.
The paintings would be more effective where people have time to stand, look, ponder, and reflect about the heritage, for example at a park or playground. The city administration along with Ramakrishna Math should also involve art students in this project of wall paintings. That will enhance the creativity of the paintings. They should also improve the quality of paints to prevent them from fading away. Great art-work with meaningful messages to the public. City authorities and the Math should take care of these paintings so that they don’t get fade out soon, like it had happened to the earlier paintings on the City walls.
An act of Ignorance! Two of the Murals are already been gobbed with Paan Spit
If one would ask, who would do such a thing of spitting on the newly painted murals, the answer would be simple- someone with a sick mind or he or she could be mentally retarded- even though they are not? Who could be involved in such an act spoiling the beauty of this painting – a person or persons not using their common sense or simply trying to be ignorant. One day citizens join in the project trying to bring awareness about Swachh Bharat or Swachh Mangaluru- and on the other hand a few days later, the same group go around in the City defacing public walls with posters or paan spit. How can you ever imagine Mangaluru to be a “Clean Mangaluru” if we have people like these.
This act by the person or persons who defaced the paintings on the wall with spit will really make anyone upset and angry, even the artists. Not even a few days after the paintings were completed, and now we have someone defacing it with spit. How ignorant this person/persons should be to ignore the sign and deface an artwork done with enthusiasm and hard work by professional artists.
Mangaluru City Corporation and the concerned authorities should take action against those who have defaced the walls under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act 1981. By defacing the art work done by these artists who had spent so much time by pasting posters on them has hurt everyone. The person or persons who did this ugly act should immediately clean the red spit patches, if not the concerned authorities should take action against them, if they happen to catch them. With a mass of people chewing tobacco/beetle nut-leaves, we see all these paan spit on walls, streets etc. Minister UT Khader was suppose to ban chewing tobacco- what happened? Only talk, no action, I guess! Many walls in the city look ugly with these gob of spit- we need to have a clean Mangaluru”.
Although the Defacement Property Act 2007 lays down that whoever defaces any property in public by writing or marking with ink, chalk, spit, paint or any other material, shall be punishable with up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs.1,000 or both- seems like nobody cares nor does the authorities take against the culprits. Now we have somebody spit on these, chances are we could see posters being pasted on these paintings.Specially during college election time, many posters find their way on city walls. Try telling this to the candidates- they just ignore it. Some say that money easily flows from big political parties, so police avoid getting “involved”. Others say that these student unions have huge political backing and have a different psyche, so the police does not get involved with them.
On paper, the law forbids this but in the absence of action against the culprits, City’s denizens can only despair at the helplessness of the law against such culprits. No vacant space is sought to be spared by the civic vandals – public walls, etc etc- and the scars and the disfigurement remain for months, and years. Seems like despite strict laws against defacement of public places, citizens still openly flout them with posters, spit, writings etc on public walls, traffic sign etc etc- So, What is the point of spending so much money on painting walls when our officials don’t know how to maintain them or take action against those who deface them? The unlawful act can be prevented only if people defacing walls are punished.
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