A blank wall is an invitation to the artist to infuse life and meaning into space. At our University campus in Bengaluru, this call to creativity has given rise to a transformative initiative, where the seminar hall walls have become a stage for artists to embody the inspiring messages enshrined in the Constitution of India.
In 2022, the campus witnessed the inaugural iteration, as contemporary artists adorned the outer walls of Gurudutt and Ray (Seminar Hall 1) with vibrant expressions of constitutional values. The enthusiastic reception to this initiative paved the way for an even more ambitious project in August 2023, where the outer walls of Ashoka (Seminar Hall 2) became the backdrop for a unique collaboration between traditional and contemporary artists.
A visual celebration of diversity
Eight artist groups graciously embraced this opportunity, leading to a vibrant fusion of styles that harmoniously celebrated the diversity woven into the fabric of India. Through four intricate murals, the artists addressed grassroots governance, democratic choices, women’s and tribal rights, and various traditions, vividly portraying India’s pluralistic harmony. The murals blended traditional ethos with modern symbolism, underscoring how constitutional values guide our nation.
Amplifying Voices | Avinash Karn and Thara M Thomas
Avinash Karn, founder of ‘ArtBole,’ and Thara M Thomas, a Bengaluru-based muralist and illustrator, collaborated to depict the story of women’s empowerment in India. Drawing inspiration from the Chipko Movement and women-led panchayats, their artwork highlights the Gandhian Directive Principles of State Policy. Through a fusion of traditional Madhubani art and contemporary interpretations, they amplify the voices of empowerment and constitutional identity.
The Balance | Subhash Vyam, Durgabai Vyam and Amitabh Kumar
The Gond tradition of tribal art comes to life in the collaborative mural by Durga Bai, Subhash Vyam, and Amitabh Kumar. Their vibrant canvas celebrates the Gond people’s relationship with the land and underscores how the Constitution empowers the continuity of their culture. The intricate interplay of images, strokes, and lines represents the delicate balance the Constitution aspires to preserve.
Changing Landscapes | Vayeda Brothers and Trespassers
Siblings from Maharashtra’s Ganjad, the Vayeda Brothers, bring the Warli folk painting tradition to the forefront. Collaborating with the seven-member artist collective Trespassers from Kerala, their mural portrays the Constitution as a value system, safeguarding the rights of common people to their land, culture, and livelihoods. The delicate Warli forms intertwined with bold, surreal elements speak to the changing dynamics between people and the environment.
The Scroll | Sai Kiran and Blaise Joseph
Scion of the endangered tradition of Cheriyal Scroll painting, Sai Kiran collaborated with contemporary artist Blaise Joseph to explore the complex dilemma of migration and caste-determined occupations. Divided into two sections, their mural lends expression to the rich tradition of land-based communities and their connection to harmony, togetherness, and sharing. Students and faculty actively participated in the mural-making process, adding their brushstrokes to this visual tapestry of stories.
While the Bengaluru campus murals are no doubt an artistic spectacle, they are in fact a testament to the fusion of tradition and modernity, echoing the enduring values that shape our constitutional fabric.
So, the next time you visit, take a moment to stop, admire, and understand the essence of these transformative artworks that encapsulate the spirit of creativity and unity.
Images and Video: Darshan Manakkal