Coimbatore

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Kovai Art Trail

Coimbatore

2018

In Kovai for the first time, in 2018, we began with the creation of a walkable art trail on the city’s Government Art College Road. 4 artists - 3 national and one international, worked on 4 different facades on the buildings of the Police Commissioner’s Office, Ex-Servicemen’s Building, Cancer Ward at CMC, and St Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School - standing in the vicinity of each other and forming a walkable trail of sorts.

In addition to being pedestrian-friendly, the Art College Road is thronged by a large variety of passersby due to its central location. Situated in an area that accommodates a high concentration of diverse pedestrians, the artists’ murals used the city’s (and the state’s) socio-cultural ecosystem and its changing nature for inspiration. For their respective pieces, artists drew inspiration both from Kovai’s history as well as its present.

Shiva Rangaa Reveals St Art Kovai 2018 Pranav Gohil 8

Police Commissioner's Office

The first mural in the trail was created by Shiv & Ranga - an artist duo from Hyderabad. Upon their arrival in the city during Dussehra, the duo sensed the city of Coimbatore as a melting pot of both traditions and modernity. Using this thought as a starting point, the artists painted a Thanjavur Doll - something that has come to symbolise Tamil Nadu, wearing its traditional garb on a wall of the Police Commissioner’s Office. However, instead of greeting viewers with a ‘mudra’ the doll is depicted holding up a smartphone.

Nasto Mhoha Reveals St Art Kovai 2018 Pranav Gohil 11

Ex-Servicemen's Center

The second artwork for the trail, painted on a wall of the Ex-Servicemen’s Centre, was made by the artist collective Nasto Mhoha. The collective was founded by Abhik and Riji who are originally from Kochi. For St+art Kovai, they painted a mural to form a delicate link between Tamilian tradition and folklore. Their artwork depicted a woman holding a plastic-wire koodai (basket) in one hand, and a 'Yali' - a mythological creature that is prominently present in most temples across Tamil Nadu, in the other. The protagonist was shown wearing a kanjeevaram saree, and adorned with bharatanatyam jewelry.

H11235 Reveals St Art Kovai 2018 Pranav Gohil 22

Cancer Ward at CMC

The next artwork was painted by artist H11235 on the Cancer Ward at CMC. Nepalese artist Kiran Maharjan aka H11235 always looks for inspiration in everyday life elements, nature and craftsmanship. For his mural in Kovai, he drew inspiration from the local history of the region and used it to render a photorealistic artwork in his signature style. Once a symbol of British colonialism and exploitation the cash crop of cotton today enjoys a self-sustained industry in the city, with immense significance for its working class. H11235’s artwork featured a cotton-picker as its protagonist and also incorporated a calligraphic element which read 'Laud the Plough'.

Swathi Vijay Reveals St Art Kovai 2018 Pranav Gohil 7

St Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School

The final piece in the art trail was made by the Hyderabad-based artist couple of Swathi & Vijay. Second in their series of street art pieces that question social, political and intellectual development, the piece was realised on a wall of the St Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School. Their piece used typography to depict the word ‘agriculture’ as Agri-Culture, acknowledging the growing divide between the urban city and its agrarian roots. The words ‘agri’ and ‘culture’ were shown split from each other and a pin precariously holding both together, as a way to represent the diminishing link between the two.

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