Sunday, February 28, 2010

City walls give artists' careers a new lease

City walls give artists' careers a new lease

Senthalir S. Bangalore

Painting the city walls has given a new lease of life to the painters who are part of the work carried out by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). After the ban on banners, cut-outs and digital flexes taking over traditional painting, the lives of the painters involved in such work were in tatters.
"After 2002, at least 50% of the painters in the city had lost their livelihood. The digital medium had taken over. At least 50% of the painters lost their livelihood. However, BBMP's initiative has given them hope. Many have got jobs because of this," said BN Sathyanarayan of Murugan Arts. He heads a team of 150 people who are now painting city walls. "We have painted images of heritage sites like Hampi, Nandi Hills and many tourist spots in the state. In schools and colleges, the walls would be painted with messages that are educative and patriotic. At Lalbagh, the walls would have images of plants and flowers, Kanakapura Road would have stencil paintings of nature and Bannerghatta Road would have pictures of animals. The walls alongside Airport Road would be covered with pictures of India's tourist places," he said.
Murugan Arts took up the work of painting Bangalore's walls in September 2009. Now, work is on in Lalbagh Rajajinagar, Malleswaram, Majestic, Yeshwanthpur and Banaswadi. "In Lalbagh, we are covering at least 80,000 sq feet. It is about 7-8 km. We started work here in December; we have covered 75% of the distance. We will complete the work in a month," he said.
Painter Shiva T is glad that painters have a job now, but that is temporary, too, he pointed out. "The work will go on for three or four months. After that it would be difficult for us," he said. BT Ramesh, chief engineer (west zone), BBMP, said that they called for quotations and work was entrusted to Murugan Arts.

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