Wave of theme-based street art in Odisha capital

Bhubaneswar: The countdown has begun for the Odisha capital to be decked up in the best of heritage hues before the Hockey World Cup next year. From walls to flyovers to school boundaries, these have already been styled with street art.

Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The most recent of all were the floral paintings, full of life and glee, on the boundary walls of Capital High School, as a part of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Children’s Day Programme.

Picture Courtesy: Bakul
Picture Courtesy: Bakul

However, the most significant ones are brightening up the flyovers at Jaydev Vihar, Rajmahal Square, Acharya Vihar and Vani Vihar, which were done as a part of the initiative STAMP- Street Art in Mural Project by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) in collaboration with city-based Bakul Foundation.

Jaydev Vihar flyover/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The street art began in the city back in 2007 with Bakul’s activity to turn public walls into canvas for children to paint on.

The first street art activity by Bakul/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The BMC then got flyovers and walls painted, which were more representative in nature. Murals and paintings, from Pattachitra to Saura art to tribal art to Sambalpuri textile prints, all of them found a place on the city’s walls.

Sambalpuri textile design on a wall/ Picture Courtesy: indianhistoryspeaks.blogspot.com

Meanwhile, Bakul went on conducting various street art activities independently. “We didn’t conduct competitions. All the while, it’s been activities that involved artists, students, and the general public,” said Sujit Mahapatra, founder of Bakul.

In 2009, during the Kandhamal riots, they painted the long wall from Forum Mart to Bakul library, on the theme ‘Wall of Peace’.

Wall of Peace/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

Later in 2012, the children’s wall at Bakul was repainted on the theme ‘Books give us wings’ in which a large number of students from various schools took part.

Students painting the walls on the theme ‘Books give us wings’/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The year also saw one of the most interesting forms of street art- ‘3D Art’. Famous artist Tracy Lee, who was in the city for the first time, did some amazing 3D art on the roads near Bakul.

Tracy Lee and 3D art at Bakul/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

Tracy Lee visited Bhubaneswar last year again, and conducted a workshop on 3D paintings with young local artists at Bakul.

Tracy Lee at the 3D painting workshop at Bakul in 2016/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

In 2013, on the occasion of World Water Day, Bakul organized another street art activity where chief minister Naveen Patnaik was seen doodling on a wall.

Naveen Patnaik painting the ‘Wall of Water’ at Bakul on World Water Day/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The wall from Bakul to Form mart was turned into the ‘Wall of Water’.

Students painting the ‘Wall of Water’/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

Bakul, in association with East Coast Railway, and with the help of some local artists and students completely changed platform No. 6 of Bhubaneswar Railway Station, from dull and usual to bright and artistic.

Bhubaneswar Railway Station platform 6/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

In 2016, BMC and Bakul, who were working parallelly on making the city beautiful, came together for a uniform and planned street art. Theme-based paintings took over and they started painting public toilet walls, depicting the importance of using them. “We made it subtle and used cinema and popular cultures to show why open defecation is bad. All the while, trying to be politically correct,” Sujit said.

A painting on public toilet wall showing Gabbar and Kalia/ Picture Courtesy: Bakul

The flyovers were painted this year before the Asian Athletic Meet so as to decorate the city. While Jaydev Vihar depicts sports as the Kalinga Stadium is situated there, Rajmahal Square has murals showing markets place with vendors selling fruits and vegetables.

Rajmahal Square flyover/ Picture Courtesy: BMC

Similarly, Acharya Vihar flyover has all kinds of birds painted on it and Vani Vihar flyover stands out with its portraits.

Vani Vihar flyover/ Picture Courtesy: BMC

The BMC is planning to fill the walls with modern and heritage art before the Hockey World Cup. “We will paint the route from Biju Patnaik International Airport to Kalinga Stadium and Janpath Road. Efforts are in to give the city a traditional look with a modern touch. It will include signages as well. We wish to give tourists and guests the feel of Temple City through street art and that is how you’ll soon see the work on walls and flyovers,” said Gopal Panigrahi, the public relation officer at BMC.

Acharya Vihar flyover/ Picture Courtesy: BMC

Plans are afoot to restart the Patha Utsav – Street Festival, which was discontinued during rains, he added.

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