Pillars of urban art

Pillars of urban art

Sometime recently, one could not but notice motorists on KH Double Road looking calm and curious. What caught their attention was a bunch of artists working on UFO or Under the Fly Over project.

They were a team of youngsters wearing pollution masks, clearing the garbage and painting on the flyover pillars. 

Initiated by Jaaga, a creative group that takes up urban issues through art, the UFO project was carried out by an art and design collective based in the City called ‘Ilaka’. It was a reality game that aimed at promoting a sustainable urban living.

They are a team of ten artists — filmmakers, visual artists, performers and sculptors. The funding was done by Goethe Institute and Public Art Forum of Germany. 

“We examined the urban issues and wanted to portray them artistically,” says Kamya, one of the artists at Jaaga. Each artist was given kitty money and they had to invest it on artistic materials. Letting the creative minds work in a smelly and polluted place, there was just one rule  — to be present at least once in two weeks. 

 “This was community work rather than beautification process,” says Kamya.  A challenging task, the cleared pillars were attacked with political posters. They appeared and reappeared. But the public art had worked the purpose as there was community participation. “I learnt that public art gave a sense of ownership.

When the poster boys tried sticking the bills on the painted pillars, they were stopped by the watchmen and commuters,” says Vivek, another artist associated with Jaaga.

Butterflies, hearts, awareness messages — each pillar has an interesting twist. There are many upcycled props planted that charge up the inquisitiveness of commuters. “While one represented Bengaluru as a migrant’s city with depiction of heart, the other drew butterflies symbolising migration,” says Kamya.

Half of the pillars are painted red and the other half yellow with silhouettes. This is aimed at involving the community in the artwork. There were people posing playfully for silhouettes.There were chefs taking a break from their work, watchmen and curious commuters taking part in the shadow tracing process under the flyover. 

“At night, we got the stalk lamps and made people pose to get the silhouettes on the pillars,” she explains. The creative troop who have enhanced the look of Double Road flyover will soon start work on Anand Rao Circle and Yeshwanthpur.

“BBMP has been supportive throughout our project and want to fund our future projects with PPP investments and initiatives like ‘Namma Bengaluru Nanna Koduge’,” she explains. Athreya, one of the artists who worked under this project, concludes, “Public art gives people access to art more openly than in galleries dedicated to art. It triggers curiosity and gives each one a chance to judge the art in their own way.” 

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