When Defence Colony kids parked their ideas on a Palike wall

Last Updated 27 March 2013, 21:30 IST

Renowned Austrian architect-painter Hundertwasser’s symbiotic link with nature, now has an Indiranagar connection.

Inspired by Hundertwasser’s designs, 40 children from the Indiranagar Defence Colony have transformed the once lifeless boundary wall of a BBMP park into a soul-stirring work of collective art. This should be a crash course in urban aesthetics for the Palike, still smarting from its failed attempt at public wall painting.

Lifeless, unattended, hidden, the 920 sq-ft wall on the periphery of the Defence Colony Children’s Park lay there for years in neglect. Then one December weekend, the Defence Colony Residents’ Association (DECORA) had a grand vision: To dramatically convert that piece of brick-laid canvas into a wondrous symphony of shapes and colours, art and designs; to inject it with life in Hundertwasser’s vibrant, bold colours; to bring into their fold every child and every parent in that bustling neighbourhood called Defence Colony.

In the next few weekends, gripped by unprecedented creative energy, the area’s children -- their parents in tandem -- conquered the wall. Filling Hundertwasser’s trademark onion domes with original graphics of their own, the young minds danced with their brush strokes.

“The devotion and interest among the children were tremendous. Their passion was to be seen to be believed. It shows in the art. Otherwise, this work wouldn’t have had a soul,” said Nilofer Suleman, the arty brains behind the project. The initiative had Nilofer don the art teacher’s role in right earnest, visually choreograph the effort.

She was fresh from a pan-Indian artistic tribute to Amitabh Bachchan, her portrait of the Big B one among the 70 nationwide.

Coordinating it all, DECORA’s Namratha Mundhra had seen the children’s fear of the weather, heard questions on whether rain would engulf their works of love and labour. “The drawing part was over in a few hours. But when they started painting, the children were worried if the paints would wear off. It would’ve been very discouraging.

Luckily, a car dealer parent, well versed with automobile paints, finally figured out a way to preserve the entire wall,” recalled Namratha. She is convinced the wall would remain fresh for another five years. Hundertwasser’s recurring motifs had Nilofer guide the children synchronise the design from end to end. So they had those Black and White checks in harmony with the blue waves, and the cloud of eyes recur, link up the entire 920 sqft in one collective grip.

Originality to the fore

“Each of them had a section of the wall to work on. But barring these motifs, the children were all original. None of them copied,” quipped the art teacher.

The painted wall did visually change the park. Visitors streamed in to get photographed, be seen with the wall as background. They loved it as Hundertwasser’s line stood out like a telling banner: “I want to show how basically simple it is to have paradise on earth.”

That simplicity was about loving nature, lollipop-style trees, and yes, of disliking the monotony of grey with a mind that simply adored the play of colours, big and bold!

(Published 27 March 2013, 20:37 IST)

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