Definition of art has always been fluid. Over the years, art has evolved from sketching to painting to sculptures. Madras Art Movement is one such historical event which brought modern regional art to Chennai during the 1960’s. The association of Chennai spreading messages through art has been there for a quite a long time.
The painting and graffiti on railway station walls, school walls and public walls conveying meaningful messages has started becoming a common sight in Chennai. Many groups of students have voluntarily started working towards making their city colourful and meaningful. Many artists across India deem that art is the best medium to get people’s attention.
Ahalya S, creative director of Kanakavalli Sarees says that since the days of emperors art has been used to personify messages. “As humans we seek for harmony and art does that best. Art installations in public places bring people together and makes them think about the social message it conveys”.
Ranjani Ramakrishanan is a volunteer at Besant memorial animal dispensary. She has paint beautiful messages on the walls of the shelter about animal cruelty. She says “Art is one medium of communication and attracts a lot of attention from people, with the colours and composition. Art along with all other mediums of communication can make a lot of difference”.
Karam Korpom is a foundation which works towards environment protection through various activities such as community wall arts with a team of volunteers. Stop Abusing Public Spaces (SAPS) is the flagship activity of Karam Korpom Foundation, where the abused public spaces are identified, cleaned up with the help of conservatory workers and then wall art is carried out with the local community participation, in addition to with their volunteers.
Gunjan Adya an artist who likes to explores different cultures feels that in India lacks funding for art. “Art is used as a powerful tool worldwide. With socio-economic problems present in our country, art can be an effective medium to reach people”.
Thejo Menon, a contemporary artist for the past 27 years, feels that the grafittis and painting in the railway stations and public places in Chennai are not enough and we have to work more on it. “A human eye gets attracted to anything that is colourful”, says Thejo. “So naturally the reach would be high. Students have started taking up these as projects and are working actively in spreading awareness through various forms of art and not just painting”. Thejo, along with her students, has also created meaningful sculptures from the scraps from trains in Integral coach factory, Chennai.