This artist knows how to make a wall smile!

This artist knows how to make a wall smile!

Show a dull, grey wall to Divya Ramachandra and she would splash colour over its vast space and bring it to life.

While most view walls as a mere structure to raise buildings, Divya spots a ready canvass to brighten the surroundings. "Walls should reflect the essence of a person or a place," says the art teacher at Srishti School of Design.

The idea, she says, is to add character to public spaces, making them an extension of the occupants' persona. Joining forces with other artists, Divya has painted around 100 walls of schools, jyms and cafes; the effort appropriately christened 'Happy Wall Project'.

The places transformed by her creative touch include a wall in Shanthinagar bridge and the classrooms of Chennai's Arignar Anna Government School.

The initiative is collaborative. Divya works with fellow artists, volunteers and students to paint a place. In fact, her quest for creativity goes beyond painting. She collaborates with writers and poets as well in creating unique works of art.

In many places, this collaborative project turns into a platform to display local art, giving an opportunity for artists who rarely get a chance to showcase their works.

"I was joined by over 70 artists recently to paint the walls of a few schools," she says.  "We used images of taps, water and electricity to convey the message that precious natural resources should be conserved."  One of the walls had Warli art, which Divya produced with a village artist.

Rather than treating art merely as a way of beautifying a space, Divya infuses her works with inspirational messages.

When a friend asked her to paint the room of a guitarist and musician recovering from an accident, Divya blended some of the lyrics he penned with the art work. "He was depressed that he wouldn't be able to strum the guitar for some time. Looking at his own lyrics cheered him up during the recovery," she says.

She considers paintings on underprivileged schools as some of the most uplifting art she has ever done. "They are certainly close to my heart," she admits.  

 

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