Public Art

City, a word that has gained so much of importance that phenomenon like opportunity, success, and career are all read along with it. People either migrate or they are born in a city, both ways it’s most certain that they will be a part of the rat race. The race for money and power, the vicious circle to achieve something known as success. Success the buzz word that no one ever could explain what it is, though each of the rat racers have a customized impression of the foggy image of what the success is like. Living in a city turns out to be using a set of tools/skills for daily survival, we are bound by our self created rules, of which some glorify by calling it ‘principles’, but we are no computer programmes to be governed by rules (or the glorified principles).

We are born and then we will die, there are only two set of threads to connect these two points of birth and death; one spans them by living, or by surviving. Then the question is what’s the difference between living and surviving? To put it simple, if u add “art” to survival it becomes life. Every human society developed from ancient times in different parts of the world had a great place in their civilization for art. Art was in their lives irrespective of any distinction what so ever, but the contemporary cities have framed art to the circles of few riches, into a society where the economically weaker section have no way to involve with art, rather art is projected as a privilege of the riches rather than a boon of a civilization. Ever since independence, India has been following the Nehruvian vision for materialistic urbanization as a mode for developing India, and completely ignoring the Gandhian vision of developing the base civilization aspects.

Permanent art installation on a traffic island

Permanent art installation on a traffic island

Well… we still are not able to come out of this illusion. We still are more interested in, projecting construction as a scale of assessment for development, flyovers as a symbol of modernization and on and on and on….. but how long can anyone separate art and civilization? The new generation has already started feeling the void. The youth cannot blindly follow the rat race, at least the better ones will definitely feel the void. Pubs and malls have popped up for the youth to spend their time, still this cultural shift is not having the same popularity as it used to be. Movies, dance, and the ever existing ear phones as an attire to youth clearly reflects the importance of art in life. City has been spending big money to buildup romantic traffic islands, to which no one have an easy access to, rather than seeing it through windshields. Art need not be expensive or permanent to have an impact, rather temporary installations have more impact than the permanent expensive ones. How can art be just a legacy to a circle of artist and self acclaimed art lovers???…how can public money be spent on art unless it belongs to people?…public art is not just a visual experience that shades away with the increase in the number of times one sees it, rather it should interact with the public realm, and that also refers that public art need not be only in public spaces, public art can be in galleries and still interact with the public realm much better than the designated public art installations.

Grafitti may have some messages in them... "keep dili clean"

Grafitti may have some messages in them… “keep dili clean”

There are many mediums to public art of which graffiti is one. Graffiti is considered as an art by many and it is by far the most interactive and ever changing urban art form that has developed in modern times. Graffiti have been successful in filing up the void, but the point here is not the art but the artists, those who do graffiti are not much bothered about the public property. Defaced public property gives an image of uncontrolled area in a city and that of course promotes crime as in case of other western cities. Those who practice graffiti are the people who in general are fed up with the system, or at least are not bothered about the universal ownership of public places. These talents are diverted in paths.

some may even use it for pathups.....

some may even use it for patch-ups…..

spaces least used are abode of grafitti

spaces least used are abode of graffiti

Graffiti (sort of) in India is rare to see, but its popping up soon, because of the void that’s created in the lives of the youth. History has so many evidences that enforcing strict laws have never been a success story in stopping the youth; rather we should look at the problem from their way. Why can’t there be designated space for these people to express themselves?, why can’t we have public art that interacts with the public in its true sense? Coming up of graffiti is a positive signal that the city is ready for an interactive urban models for public art, by which can be generated a sense of belonging, for that is the most needed thing for a city to run smooth.

Art can do wonders and we need not be an artist to explore them….


Interesting Links


18 thoughts on “Public Art

  1. on …”we need not be an ARTIST “..

    as always i would disagree to the definition of the artist word (one going by the popular notions ….. having do with BEING SKILLED)..

    everyone has art inside .. a mere space in which u bring out ur purest self ….at times the undefinable ..
    mere moment of discovery .. mere moment of love …
    blah blah blah .. ( i know u got what i meant )

    previous attempts to reply to ur blog entries have been a failure , not for lack of words ..for all of them turned out to be bigger postings than the article itself ……
    but these days its kinda ….feeling that practicing ideas is more important than penning down ….i mean not to exist as mere words ….. ####
    and the shift has made me to keep the replies to myself ……

    great to see u write

    • Hey da…. I was always waiting for your long replies….. that will generate the wave among all those who read it…. I know you would have thought abt it, but I guess posting it will be of great use for the discussions…… dude plese post it, it doesn’t matter if its bigger than the article itself…. well in that way I guess it will be a bigger compliment to the article itself…. but do post it… 🙂

  2. well ….it stuck me a few times to think of chain blogging …
    but sometimes is pointless with not too many people joining in ….. posting will come .. ? maynot ?! ..its on my blog @word press….
    recent discretion has been not to drain out energies ..

    nice article

  3. Hey
    Well nice to see you write again… or i thinkg it should be ..nice to see me read again……..
    I like the article… but i thought that the initial para .. i Guess an intro .. was quite misleading…. when compared to the body…. or atleast it lacked a certain flow……..
    I think to start ur article the secong Para was more than enough…. anyways…….
    by the way .. if we plan and designate areas for Graffitiies wouldnt we alter the basic idea or concept of it which is freedom or anarchy. The mere beauti of it lies in the fact that it is unmanned and indicipline..dont u think???

    Grafitiies are what they are because of the way and where they are………….. I hope i make sense……..

    • Now after your comment, I too feel the flow is missin about the first paragraph…… will look into it next time on… 🙂

      “*The mere beauty of it lies in the fact that it is unmanned and indicipline *”……. but if you talk to the graffiti artists then you will realize that that main aim is not to be indisciplined, but to catch the pubic eye and have their thoughts thru….. and some of them even don’t know why they do it… so having designated places will give them a better canvas….isn’t it so?

      Well it might be beautiful to see graffiti, but the sheer presence of it in a public places shows the level of uncontrolled administration in that particular area, which inturn may give way to other social problems……if the place doesn’t look safe then there is no point in that place being actually safe….

  4. Hi nipesh!
    Great to see u come up wid new topics……¬¬
    But let me disagree wid some of the thoughts u have portrayed here. I feel that u have hired the eye of a normal city planner wishing to see the city neat and clean…….Don’t u think there are other nuances to this topic where the culture and freedom dominates rather than the discipline???
    For the public to interact with the city, the surrounding has to be very friendly first of all……If the city graffiti has a negative wave in it, there could be two reasons……One could be the unfriendly environment which prompts them to respond negatively…..The second could be unfriendly people who respond negatively to the friendly environment…….Now the remedy could be either providing a friendly canvas to the interactive positive graffiti or provide an environment which can reduce or completely delete negative graffitti……. The challenge lies with the urban planners….
    I wud agree with aneena that the canvases cannot be demarcated and given saying..dear public, plz express here…..but at the same time negative graffity does affect the image of the city….So I wud say…..positive graffiti has to be developed and has to evolve from the heart of the city….. as a symbol of its culture, the people and the spirit………

    • I like the quote “….dear public, plz express here”. 😀 .. I know that it will never work this way…but we have to somehow understand it and make it work………. your comments made me remember the thing that giri suggested for the wallmag….. ppl were writing on the notices and articles…so we have put a plain A4 on the notice board for them to write on… it partially worked, but it din come out as well as we expected……well it did teach us lessons…but there is much more to learn……… may be somehow we should be able to involve the freedom of the artist and still give due reverence to the public-ness of the spaces…..

  5. gr8 u see that u still get time to write rather speak out….
    but im sorry to ask u…..WHATS THE WHOLE IDEA OF THIS POST…please….

  6. Hey………
    In jus wanna say……… the initial para on The City and the very first verse of the article makes more and complete sense than……….. anything……..

    How the city has grown on us that we fail to realise …. what has priority..what is imoprtant….

    I like it when u cut to the point rather than having an entire drama by the english grammer… and verbal juglarry…………keep writing concise……….

    I think that’s y i dont like harry potter…….hehehe

  7. first of all a pat on your shoulder for this great write up..i am really amazed to read it. i was unaware of this hidden skill of yours..keep it up i think i must take some tips from you in improving mine..haha

    jokes apart,it was really awesome it has added a perspective in my realm of knowledge regarding civilization and art. i like the idea of using the art of graphiti as a media to convey our thoughts with the rest of the society. good work buddy keep it up…

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