Monday, October 5, 2009

......Three reasons for painting a wall

Ridhi asked me on Gtalk a few days ago

“What are your 3 reasons for painting a wall?”

And I replied,

“Number One. I have always wished for urban structures to be much nicer than their present state of concrete, plain white or as in the case of Rest House Road, covered with moss. And then, I saw painted walls on Chapel Street in Bandra, Mumbai. It looked beautiful. I want to do this in my own city now. ”

“Number Two : It's an exploration of my own artistic intent and ability. Working with Shilo and you [Ridhi] makes it so much more easier. I got to learn immensely yesterday. And I know if I goof up, its ok, it ll be fixed...and there is no sense of judgement on each others roles/work etc. except the Outliner. Destroy the Outliner!”

Ridhi replied, “Haan, cool reasons!”

The third reason is in retrospect. I was fascinated with the interaction between the locality and us, the outsiders. Passers-by stopped, stood back and looked at what we were painting, mostly throwing in a smile, an odd query, a thank you or 'can you paint my wall, too!'? Three children from the abandoned building, of which the wall was a part of, came and played with the paints. We had to send them back to their mother and give them mean threats so that they let the work finish! Everyone was cheerful to see the colors.

- Siddharth


1. Starting a conversation

I like fuelling different kinds of 'conversations'. They might be with dogs on the street, trees lining a road, a wall, a person. The need for conversations comes from my desire to interact with the city CLOSELY. Feel its textures. Taste its flavours.

In Bangalore, we are experiencing a very interesting period of transition. Questions and conflicts of Identity and Culture are bubbling under a façade of modernity.

Painting a wall is a great conversation start point to explore these subtly hidden layers.

2. Talking about...

While painting with Dhanya and Nitya in Bombay, I especially noticed the kind of conversations it sparked off with passers by. Some people stopped. They said hello, watched us in silence, commended us, criticized us, questioned us, irritated us.

And it ALL felt GREAT because we were talking to people we wouldn't normally talk to and on terms that were not ordinary because the interaction was

* withOUT monetary exchange
* remained 'ungendered'
* AND, almost everyone walked away
with a smile on their faces :)

3. A thread of commonality

Often, I find it difficult to find a thread that ropes in a large number of people. It is very easy to disagree and draw borders.

But I find that painting a wall brings people together.
It results in a random assortment of people with a common purpose - to colour the cityscape.

No political message, no real 'hidden' motive. It is so... simple. :)

4. Having fun and spreading fun:

It brings art out of studios and onto the streets. It involves and includes people who are not usually thought of as artists. It lets you get paint all over your hands and experience the joy of living in the moment, the moment of that stroke.

Deliberate, meditative, cathartic, flamboyant, powerful, vibrant, superlative.

5. There is no border

I can explore my own personal artistic expression WHILE being under the public gaze. It's the most I've been able to share of my creative self without feeling completely overwhelmed by an 'audience'.

I can no longer draw a line between artist and audience. It blurs into one.

The 'stage' is thrown open to participation. The onlooker is no longer a passive spectator.

And everything becomes a riot of colour.

- Ridhi
[*who knows she's given 5 reasons instead of 3 :S]


1. Love.

- Shilo

(more coming soon)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. hey thats a great job u guys doing... i would like to join ur group and be the 4th member...!! let me know.