Around the City

Kovai Art Trail

In 2018, we created a walkable art trail on Kovai's Government Art College Road. 4 artists - 3 national and 1 international, worked on facades of the the Police Commissioner’s Office, Ex-Servicemen’s Building, Cancer Ward at the Coimbatore Medical College, and St Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School.

Artists creating pieces for the Kovai Art Trail in 2018

In addition to being pedestrian-friendly, the Art College Road is visited by a diverse range of people across demographics, due to its central location. The murals took inspiration from the constantly changing socio-cultural realities of the city, including both Kovai’s history as well as its present.

Location: Police Commissioner’s Office, by Shiv and Ranga

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 but replaced its traditional ‘mudra’ with a smartphone. The artwork also incorporates some graphic text in Tamil - the question “நலமா” translates to “Is everything alright?”.

Location: Ex-Servicemen’s Centre, by artist collective Nasto Mhoha

This artwork was made by Nasto Mhoha - an artist collective founded by Abhik and Riji, originally from Kochi. Forming a delicate link between Tamilian tradition and folklore, their artwork depicts 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. By placing the Yali (associated with ferociousness and strength) in a woman’s hand the artwork took a stance for women’s empowerment, and its anamorphosis made holistic use of the space.

Location: Cancer Ward at CMC, by H11235

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'. Moreover, the artist titled his piece ‘Cut On’, attempting a pun on ‘cotton’ - to signify the symbolic demise of colonialism and its exploitative power.

Location: St Francis Anglo-Indian Girls School, by Swathi & Vijay

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, their piece used typography to depict the word ‘agriculture’ as Agri-Culture, acknowledging the growing divide between the urban city and its agrarian roots. 'Agri-culture' was drawn as a call of action, both for the public and civic bodies. Questioning our ideas of economic ‘development’, Swathi and Vijay painted their piece diagonally parallel to H11235’s work — to ignite ideas that would hopefully trigger public interest and questions.