The city seems to be going crazy around me… Although I have lived in this city for more than 30 years, the face of the city is changing almost beyond recognition. Some of it is nice… But a lot of it is chaotic, whimsical and isolationist.
Although this is my city, I often do not connect to it at a personal level anymore -Bangalore is fast turning into the city I live in – more out of habit and circumstance than anything else.
An aspect of today’s Bangalore that jars my senses is the plethora of paintings all over Bangalore, initiated by the BBMP. With the aim of beautifying Bangalore and ‘reviving the glory’ of Karnataka heritage, these paintings by local artists are all over the walls of Bangalore. This often includes walls bordering potholed and water logged roads and empty spaces doubling up as garbage dumps.
In the latter case, the pile up and stench of multi colored garbage vies for attention with the multicolored hues on the walls.
Some of the paintings (in the better maintained areas) are interesting – I like the idea of using art to showcase the culture and people of a city. However, does this very niche style of painting really showcase the melting pot, multi cultural nature of Bangalore? I think not…
Though the paintings do promote local art, the perception and acceptance of what is ‘local’ in Bangalore needs to be broadened, taking into consideration the variety of cultures and people who have made Bangalore their home today, or who have been Bangaloreans for years.
For example, check out the work of this artist who I think of as a typical ‘Bangalorean’, although he doesn’t live in Bangalore anymore today – http://prashart.blogspot.com/
The painting on the left is an illustration of Koshy’s. The one on the right is a good example of the typical style used on the BBMP wall paintings – Can one say that either of these is more typically ‘Bangalore’?
The selection of the BBMP’s particular painting style to ‘represent’ Bangalore is sadly reflective of the overall attitude and environment within Bangalore today.
Promoting and preserving a traditional culture and language is good – But the way it is done goes a long way in ensuring a harmonious and pleasing outcome that everyone is comfortable living with.
Today’s newspaper has an article about a pharmacist who encourages customers to talk in Kannada – By offering those who do a 1% discount on their purchases.
A certain improvement over the shop guy who slyly charges a couple of rupees extra to customers who do not speak Kannada…