Chennai’s Walls: an Endless Canvas

Chennai is full of walls.  Many of them are marked “stick no bills” – and people will generally abide by that request.  But the majority end up being political advertising space.

Walls

The successive layers of paint upon paint, posters upon posters are accepted as a part of the texture of the city, and are rarely examined in close detail – though one of my predecessors here has photographed walls like the one below and turned it into a profitable art exhibition. Without all the stuff I’ve included in the photo for context.

Sidewalk Storefront

But on a major street in Chennai, the Stella Maris College Department of Fine Arts has turned a 250-meter stretch of wall surrounding their compound into a giant artists’ canvas. I spent a morning photographing them, and thought others might enjoy browsing some of the individual pieces. The project is called, “The Trees and the Skies”, and is accompanied by the following description:

The concept is a metaphor to signify art that represents the rootedness of the trees and the open imagination of the skies.  The paintings envisage a change which can unite all people as we reassess the use of nature and our environment

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The gentleman sleeping on the sidewalk is not part of the exhibition – but is included for context!

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It’s hard to see how much detail is in some of these pieces.  Check out this close-up from the painting above:

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The previous painting is gloomy, but I like the caricature of the trucks we see all over town.  Here’s a close-up:

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Here are more examples and more close-up detail shots.  These are a pleasure to drive past every morning.  I imagine what if all the walls were painted with art instead of political ads…

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Some jerk left his bike here.  Oh wait, that’s MY bike…

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One Response to Chennai’s Walls: an Endless Canvas

  1. John Elliott says:

    I really like the weathered walls, which have a lot of soul. I will have to seek these out when I return to India some day. Some walls could be a great addition to my ongoing “Walls and Spaces” Series http://www.flickr.com/photos/10285370@N07/sets/72157608723723487/

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