Is this the same Eden Garden Wall? I stood in disbelief as I was watching the wall paintings done on the walls of the Mecca of cricket – Eden Gardens Stadium Kolkata under the Kolkata Street Art Festival initiative by Berger Paints
Kolkata Street Art Festival is a great initiative undertaken by Berger Paints, where in the initial phase before the Pujas, they will complete 10 walls across the city. Under the leadership of eminent painter Professor Jogen Chowdhury, 15 painters with Mr Barun Saha at the helm of activities are on a mission to beautify the walls of Kolkata.
Few bloggers of Kolkata were invited for a day long experience of how and what exactly is happening under this initiative. From my personal experience, I have seen Wall graffiti at Turkey and Greece too and wonderful Graffiti on the trains of Turkey. Moving close by, my recent visit to Delhi and Hauz Khaus gave me a chance of experiencing some well known graffiti along the walls of Hauz Khaus and not to forget the beautiful graffiti on the walls of the various Varanasi Ghats read here. I must mention here that as a blogger, I had a gratifying moment when one of the artist of a particular graffiti in Varanasi read my post and contacted me over email.
Just like all other paintings, graffiti is a very different form of art. Mr. Barun Saha explained it further. Over here, eminent upcoming artists are painting on the walls based on themes promoting the art and culture and tradition and heritage of the city. Once the 10 walls are done in the city, they will reassess the situation and curve out the next action plan and may travel to the districts. For most of the walls, which were not in good shape, initial brick and mortar works had to be carried out which included cement plastering, then a round of Berger Putty to increase smoothness of the wall and also paint retention capability. As this is external painting, so without doubt weather coat paint from Berger has been used. When the painting canvas changes from oil cloth to walls, the process of painting also changes. One has to set up scaffolding to reach the necessary height and definitely open air painting has to take into consideration the extreme weather conditions. If one takes a close look at the paintings, these are some of the great creations which otherwise if done on canvas, would have definitely be desired to adorn the walls of homes.
How do you measure a success of an initiative like this? Is it when bystanders stop by, watch and click a picture? It has so happened that actually people have stopped while passing by these walls across the city, asked who the painter was, inquired about the initiative, even expressed the wish of getting their house walls getting painted like this. I have seen a time when the walls of Kolkata used to be a canvas of political messages, paintings and cartoons. These may have been a storyboard for the then socio economic messages but how about getting the walls of the city painted with artwork.
After all this, I had to ask the question which has been hovering in my mind for a long time. Preservation of art is equally important as the creation of art itself. Kolkata Street Art Festival is happening in collaboration with KMC (Kolkata Municipal corporation) and in addition to that, Berger Paints have partnered with Local clubs as well as Police Stations so that the preservation becomes a shared responsibility.
The greatest success of this initiative will perhaps be when citizens will get more cautious about maintaining the cleanliness of the streets and walls and definitely, when one would see an art work on the walls, one would stop, pause and refrain from doing whatever they were doing. Lets promise for a cleaner and beautiful Kolkata in the days to come.