Art initiative set to embellish Peenya Metro Station

Art initiative set to embellish Peenya Metro Station

The Peenya Metro Station is being turned into a pioneering, living, public art initiative in a radical experiment that might be replicated across other Metro stations in the City.

Thanks to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), Art in Transit, an initiative by faculty and students from the City-based Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, is in action within and outside the station’s imposing premises.

A gigantic colourful artwork being executed by Fabrice Grolaire, a French student at Srishti, greets visitors. “There’s a scrapyard ten minutes away where the BMRCL dumps its waste materials. I go there, examine it and choose elements I assemble by drawing or in Photoshop and then translate onto these walls,” he says. At the Metro entrance, a vast horizontal space is being filled up with horizontal lines of colour broken here and there by the edges of the station’s structures. Veda Kolleri slogs an exhausting eight hours a day on this section. “I discovered that I carry contexts within me and that I can impose context on a place,” she says.

Outside, at the rear, Devika Shah, in safety harness, works atop a high scaffolding with blue dominating. “The public artist makes places. These were, to me, dead structures that needed an identity. I saw the flow in the stairs and used them and art to break the deadness,” she says. 

Vasanth Rao, General Manager (Finance), BMRCL, believes public art will enable Bengaluru’s Metro stations to be the “medium that helps to create livable communities”. “Our Metro stations are not only aesthetically constructed but are very spacious at all the three levels—ground, concourse and platform. A significantly large portion cannot be utilised for commercial exploitation. The management felt that in such vacant spaces we could involve art institutions to incorporate artwork distinct in its design and ones that connect communities and support neighbourhood identities. Thus, Art in Transit was formulated,” he says.

For this project, the BMRCL didn’t give any budgetary support, other than the engineering support including safety training for the faculty and the students. Most of these works will last at least 10-15 years with minimum maintenance, he adds. Arzu Mistry, a faculty member at Srishti, says: “We approached this project with a view that the arts can facilitate dialogue about the history, the present and futures of place, between communities and city infrastructure. It’s a very public move on the part of the BMRCL to reshape the existing urban landscape of Bengaluru.”

And the landscape is changing radically. An artwork by Ishita Biswas explodes high above the ticket counters on the wall opposite the turnstiles inside the station. She says: “I’ve drawn ideas from the concerns of the community facing rapid development.”

Amitabh Kumar, another faculty member, says: “The canvas is vast and offers multiple possibilities for art plus design processes to play themselves out. Peenya has been the industrial heart of Bengaluru and is fast changing from being a hub of machine industries to other business and larger residential complexes. It’s an ideal location to initiate a dialogue between practice and pedagogy. We see ourselves as developers of practices that are born out of an engagement with place.”

Ria Bajaj is creating interactive furniture for the platform. She has invoked the principles of surprise and play. You sit on a seat and it moves about. Better still, as they move about, people will suddenly find themselves part of an embedded Rubik-like puzzle to be resolved via their movements! Harleen Chatha’s project seeks to activate a triangular island space through metallic furniture installations. “Since it's under the station and the flyover, I’m working around the concept of creatures that inhabit the underbellies of large permanent structures like this.” The public art works are expected to be in place by August.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019

Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on 

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Comments (+)