Making Kannagi Nagar people conscious of their environment

The newly painted facades at Kannagi Nagar.

Chennai:A riot of colours welcomes you into Kannagi Nagar, Thoraipakkam. A place that used to be filled with dull identical buildings, has now come alive with artistic paintings, thanks to a Delhi-based NGO, which gave this place a makeover, with the help of the civic body.

The facade of 14 buildings are being painted by artists from St+Art India Foundation, which works on neglected and ignored localities.

Based on the theme- ”People in an environment”, the paintings are being done from the end of January, drawing a lot of attention on the neighbourhood, that is being renovated under the project- Public Art District.

Speaking to News Today, assistant curator of the foundation, Karan, said, ”We are an NGO working on street art festivals for the past five years. An Art District, is an artists imagination of an open air museum. You walk into a neighbourhood and you see art in all facades. The inspiration for the foundation came from Lodhi Colony in New Delhi, which was the last such space built by the British. It was inaugurated as an Art District last year”, he explained.

The foundation had worked on the same format in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Goa, apart from Delhi.

So why Kannagi Nagar?

According to him, ”Although it was suggested by the civic body, we explored it ourselves and found that it was largely neglected, despite being one of Indias largest resettlement.

”Another reason being, we thought we could use the large walls of the neighbourhood, to create interesting and powerful art work”, he added.

The project believed in integrating residents into the process.

“We organise workshops and activities for them”, he stated.

In line with the concept, he said, “We hope to make people conscious of their environment. The theme can be explored in a local and global sense”.

For example, one artist used the idea of migration. ”This is a resettlement and people have moved from different parts of the city to be here and the art explores on what it means to build a home for yourself. Another artist worked on a woman being the protector of a surrounding,” he stated.

The project’s inauguration will be held on the first week of March with a street culture celebration.

Naomi N