In Search of a Wall

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PUDUCHERRY, November 23, 2013

In search of a wall to make art more accessible in Puducherry

OLYMPIA SHILPA GERALD

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ART organisers scouting for space to keep it going

Lost space:Girls relaxing under a wall hosting an earlier exhibition of photos by Pondy ART on Beach Road. Owners of the wall have withdrawn the use of space recently for exhibition purposes in Puducherry.— Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

Lost space:Girls relaxing under a wall hosting an earlier exhibition of photos by Pondy ART on Beach Road. Owners of the wall have withdrawn the use of space recently for exhibition purposes in Puducherry.— Photo: G. Krishnaswamy

For the last six months, a portion of the wall along Puducherry’s favourite haunt – the Promenade – has tried to make hundreds of walkers, tourists and passers-by who throng the Beach road stop, stand and stare.

The initiative to take art out into public spaces by displaying the work of internationally acclaimed photographers on the wall finds itself in a lurch, after the organisers lost access to the space this week.

While it is not uncommon to find walls in cities displaying graffiti and paintings, Pondy ART, the organisation behind the initiative used these walls to take another medium to the public- photography.

The photography exhibitions so far, were pasted on the walls of a private building which had given access, free of cost. However, the owners have withdrawn the use of space recently.

The organisation is now scouting for an appropriate platform, hoping to find a prominent location which can be accessed by the motorist and pedestrians alike.

“We are booked till April with various photographers. Our next show on Mumbai street life was slated for December 7,” Kasha Vande, founder, Pondy ART, told The Hindu .

Hitherto, the initiative has recorded the plight of HIV positive mothers, urbanisation and environmental issues, soul cleansing practices, the Kumbh Mela and the Kudankulam protests, through photographs.

Artists like Varun Gupta, Yannick Cormier, Waswo X Waswo and Srikanth Kolari have had their work featured. Following the mode of film posters, the photographs were blown up on paper to ensure the message could be understood even 50 metres away.

“We have responses from outside Puducherry to launch a similar initiative in other cities. The fact nobody has touched or defaced these pictures shows that people have appreciated them, says Ms. Vande.

The initiative was started to “take art out there.” Art should not be confined to the walls of a gallery but should be accessible for all to appreciate has been the driving force.

Photographers who spoke to The Hindu during earlier exhibitions said the street exhibitions helped them to find a wider audience.

The challenge for the organisers is to locate walls that are at least six foot high with a smooth surface in a prominent area to ensure a significant public viewership.

 

In Search of a Wall

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