The first time I heard of the Kolkata Street Art Festival, an initiative by Berger Paints India, I thought of a friend Soma, who lives in the US. Soma is pretty much a street art/graffiti/mural expert and she keeps posting beautiful pictures on Facebook of her finds in and around the US. I was thinking how happy Soma would be to see that something like this has also started in Kolkata because the lack of street art in the city has been a topic of much discussion. Not just with her but also amongst groups of artists and photographers in the city. Take Delhi for example. Lodhi Colony is the country’s first public art district and there is a growing culture of street art spreading its canvas in Mumbai as well. Kolkata started late but we are getting there too and it is all due to the efforts of Berger Paints India.
The objective of Berger Paints India in organizing the Kolkata Street Art Festival is twofold. First, to clean & beautify the prominent walls of Kolkata with the colors of Berger and secondly, to give an opportunity to the artists of Kolkata to showcase their talent in beautifying their city. Eminent artist and Member of Parliament Prof. Jogen Chowdhury has mentored this program and the team of artists has been led by senior artist Mr Barun Saha along with Mr Rintu Roy. The plan is to paint city walls, metro station walls and trams across the city.
Kolkata Street Art Festival By Berger Paints India Experience
Last Saturday, a group of bloggers including myself were taken around the city by Berger Paints to know more about the initiative, interact with the artists and also get a first-hand experience of what is happening. We visited five locations – Eden Gardens, Exide Crossing, Park Circus 7-point crossing, Ballygunge Tram Depot and Topsia. What was interesting was the fact that the artists incorporated themes to match the localities in their art. For example, Eden Gardens was all about sports, Ballygunge was mostly about traditional paintings and in Topsia, because of the number of schools in the neighborhood, the focus was more on children’s art.
Street art looks great no doubt but the process is definitely not an easy one. You can’t just pick a wall and start painting. Berger Paints got all the permissions, involved the KMC, local clubs and spent a lot of time in preparing the walls because most of them were in bad shape. Preparation involved cement plastering, applying putty to smoothen the walls and make them a canvas for the artists to paint on. Berger Paints WeatherCoat was used to ensure the art withstands harsh weather conditions.
Kolkata Street Art Festival is a great initiative by Berger Paints to transform the city’s public spaces into a canvas for artists. Berger Paints is doing their best to beautify the city. It is upto us to ensure that we preserve this art and make it into a movement.
This post is written in collaboration with Berger Paints India