A broomstick's trail of art

A broomstick's trail of art

With garbage becoming the rising concern in the City, a people’s movement is soon gaining momentum. Tired of their complaints going unheard, citizen groups have taken it upon themselves to clean and beautify their City, starting from their own street corners. Spaces across the City are ‘spotfixed’, whether it is that one pothole they have to negotiate every day or a stinking dumping yard.

Many feel that public participation is the way to go. “The authorities will never get out of their slumber. The people behind these movements are unsung heroes and they are necessary to keep the City going,” said hotelier Asif Mohammed.

“What that artist did by putting a crocodile in a pothole grabbed eyeballs. It was a small thing but it was radical,” he said. Artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy used an art installation to grab the authorities’ attention to a pothole. He placed a life-sized rubber crocodile in a gaping pothole. His efforts soon went viral and the pothole was filled up the very next day.

An important part of the movement is the way art is used. Wherever these groups act, they leave behind a wall or pillar that is painted pretty. Some walls have the native warli paintings, while some others get a collage or mural.

“Artists can motivate people. Artworks can be understood by all. There is no language barrier when it comes to art. It becomes the artist’s responsibility to inspire society,” said Montessori school teacher and artist Veena K Kumar. “When we sweep our house front, we do not leave it at that. We put a Rangoli. That rangoli is art; it is beautiful and people will skirt around it and keep the area clean. That is what needs to happen in our public spaces too,” she said.

A residents’ community from HSR Layout is one such group that is acting on its surroundings. From government school walls to the BDA complex and apartment fronts, they are working to reclaim their area. With some help from the BBMP, the group is roping in more people to join their cause.

The very places under BBMP notices that say ‘Do Not Dump Waste Here’, have become dumping yards. “There is such a board here next to the BDA complex, but right under it was a stinking dumping yard. Two weeks ago I saw a group clear it up. It is nice that people are caring for their own surroundings,” said Srinivas, an engineer and a frequent visitor to the HSR Layout BDA Complex.

The civic group has been working at the Complex ‘spotfixing’ one corner at a time. They have also pulled down posters that covered the compound walls and washed them clean. But just a few weeks later, new posters have started to appear on these walls.

A residents welfare association from an apartment complex cleared up a stormwater drain that had turned into a dumping yard. “There would be heaps of garbage here. The entire road would stink. Then a group from the apartment complex cleaned it up. It has been about two months since and because they have painted the wall behind, it looks pretty and nobody dumps garbage here anymore,” said Anu Sonu, a resident of HSR Layout, Sector 7.

“People have nowhere to dump their waste because garbage collection is very irregular here. If there was a designated bin in the area, then people will dump their garbage in it. Now, wherever they see some garbage, everybody starts dumping their waste there,” she added.

“The word about these movements needs to spread,” said Balaprabha Karanth, a member of the Residents’ Welfare Association of HSR Layout, Sector-1. He has been working with the association to raise awareness about waste segregation through street plays.

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