The last day of the 15th Krishnakriti Art and Culture Festival had lots to offer! One of the panel discussions which stood out on Sunday was on the topic Urban Cityscapes and Culture, wherein the panellists gave the audience some serious food for thought.
Anmol Gupta from Yes Global Institute; Vanshikha Singh from Hyderabad Urban Lab; Piu Mahapatra, an art educator; Gopal Krishna, Founder of Hyderabad Trails and Yeshwant Ramamurthy, an architect, spoke during the session. Coming from varied backgrounds, the panellists took turns to share their views on what really comprises a city’s cultural paradigm.
Is it culture hubs like Lamakaan, Our Sacred Space or the art district at MS Maqta near Khairtabad, or is it absolutely about the perception which every individual has about a place? For Yeshwant, it was the cultural hubs — private or public — that boosted the culture graph of a city. “These hubs are very important as they act as a catalyst to get people of similar interests to come together to share and discuss things. Moreover, if the space was not important, then how would all of us today have come together for this discussion,” he pointed out.
Concurring with his view, Anmol said, “The physical space is as important as the surrounding areas of the city. Hyderabad is a great example of a city which gets its own cultural identity from the rocks and boulders as well as from the structures. The rocks and boulders have given the city its unique touch. If you look at Lamakaan, you will see that the stage has a backdrop of rocks.”
However, others on the panel did not endorse the same view. “Every school curriculum should introduce a compulsory course in art and culture so that from the very beginning the kids know what they have around them is ‘culture’ and appreciate it,” says Piu Mahapatra.
Putting forth his thoughts on the subject, Gopal shared, “According to me, one can only appreciate the city’s culture when one has actual hands-on knowledge. And that’s the reason I started Hyderabad Trails to bridge the gap between the city and its citizens.”
Vanshikha Singh too pointed out that a city’s cultural landscape cannot be defined by buildings alone. It’s the minute details — small dingy lanes, the rocky terrains and the food which gives Hyderabad its true identity. “Both people and the cityscapes define culture as a whole entity. They cannot survive without each other,” she concluded.