District Libraray in Town Hall, Kovai 2018

For St+art Kovai 2018, the foundation invited Bangalore-based artists, Poornima and Sadhna from the Aravani Art Project, to work on a project in an area of immense significance for the locals - Coimbatore’s Town Hall area.

Being one of the oldest parts of the city, situated in the heart of the city centre, Town Hall is a historically important place for the city of Coimbatore. It’s a keeper of several local traditions and has been an area of interest for local citizenship for many decades. Our project sought to create an artwork that celebrates the city’s people, motifs and textile traditions at a landmark location.

For their piece, Poornima and Sadhna redefined the 75-foot District Library Office in the region into ‘The People’s Building’ - giving the area a renewed landmark. Stretching over the entire facade of the library building, it was their largest mural at the time.

Since the library lies in the heart of Coimbatore, where there is so much commercial activity, we figured that this mural should represent our interpretation of the city.

- Sadhna, Artist

In a celebration of the everyday individual who passed by the Big Bazaar Road and the diversity of its markets, the artists’ mural constituted of faces and textile patterns they had found in the area’s primary market. During their interaction with people in the market, they were also enamoured by the spirit of the everyday dweller who would live each day to seize it completely. To give this form of livelihood an expression, Poornima and Sadhna painted the text ‘இ&' நமேத’ (Today Belongs To Us) on both sides of the building.

One of the most beautiful ways to change the world is through celebrating local people and developing a sense of belonging and love towards the place they belong to. The People’s Building stands as a product of this vision.

- Poornima, Artist

Sporting patterns from Kovai kora sarees and veshtis, the mural was completed using the artists’ signature geometric patterns. It was completed over a span of 16 days, receiving contributions from members of the Aravani Foundation - a project that seeks to create safe spaces for the transgender community with the use of public art.

As part of the project, Poornima and Sadhna also collaborated with two local sign painters Liyakat Ali and K M Hussain to paint the text ‘மkக,& மா-ைக’ (People’s Building) on the shutters of the shops below the building. A tradition that is slowly disappearing due to the usage of flexes, St+art India recognises Hand-Painted Typography as a vital artistic and economic resource for local art ecosystems. This collaboration was conceptualised to reinforce the same and create a project that benefitted from comprehensive community participation.

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