Where walls are a canvas for art

Where walls are a canvas for art

Where walls are a canvas for art

In contrast to the general opinion that the present generation has become self-centric, a young brigade in Mangaluru is active in the public domain and is realising its dream of transforming the city into an art hub.

Isiri Art, a team of artists including painters, photographers, videographers, sculptors and writers, launched a unique initiative on November 23, 2014. As part of the effort, the members are working towards keeping streets clean and garbage free, while replacing posters and banners on the walls with social messages.

The team’s attempt to paint a compound wall at Ballalbagh with modern art and social message caught the attention of the public and the media. As a result, the work got extended to other parts of the city. A significant contribution of the team is the creation of murals on the theme of the rights of domestic workers for a park in the city.

Leading the way
“We have decided not to stop till we make Mangaluru beautiful,” said Ruby, a founder member of Isiri Art. “We want to set an example here and then extend the campaign to other cities like Udupi, Manipal and Bengaluru. We utilise every opportunity to reach people,” he added.

The success of the team lies in its meticulous planning. Once the team chooses a location, its photo is uploaded online. The core group prepares an outline and presents it to other members in a meeting, where the course of action is discussed. After preliminary preparation, the members clean the place on a Friday evening and start painting the next morning.

Artists use weather-proof paint to ensure that the art remains intact even in extreme weather conditions. The paintings are theme based and are made attractive with creative designs. The team uses graffiti paintings to make the art visually accessible to the public. In all, it’s an effort to blend social concern and art to create awareness.

Former mayor of Mangalore City Corporation Mahabala Marla, who stood with Isiri Art members when they painted the compound wall opposite to the Mangalore City Corporation building in Lalbagh, felt that the team has explored a healthy way of social involvement and set an example to their generation. “Implementation of   ban on materials and activities that disturb  the city environment is not easy. Activities of teams like this have helped create public awareness, leading to positive results,” he said.

Chief Librarian of the city’s Central Library, Raghavendra, felt that good co-ordination, clarity of purpose and dedicated approach have brought success to the team’s efforts. The members have painted the library within a short span of time in their own expense, which in due course of time, lessened the concentration of banners near the library.

In spite of increased public support, the team has not received any government aid. “We request the government to support our work by protecting them. It should strictly prohibit posters and banners in the city,” a team member said.

With the present pace of activities, it looks like time is not far to realise the  team’s dream of developing the port city into an art hub.