NSHM Knowledge Campus, Kolkata, got a new look with the Wall Art Festival, an intercultural artistic collaboration with Alliance Francaise du Bengale and, Kolkata-based artists’ collective Culture Monks. The tagline for the festival held on April 25 had a tagline, Bringing Passion and Colours to the Streets of India.
The festival was a part of the fourth edition of Bonjour India 2022, an Indo-French artistic, cultural, educational and social initiative by the French cooperation network in India.
The highlight of the Wall Art Festival was a mural painted by Skio, a French graffiti artist, who was assisted by 30 students from NSHM Design School (NDS). Skio will be painting more murals across institutes of India as part of his Bonjour India tour. “In two days, my team of students and I painted a wall. When you paint the human figure, you have to make it symmetrical and create a paradox, which is attractive,” said Skio.
Aangan, the NSHM Centre for Creative and Performing Arts, organised art workshops on April 11 and 18. RIna Mitra, head, Aangan; Sudipta Dawn, founder of Culture Monks; and singer Pradip Chatterjee of the band Moheener Ghoraguli, were present at the workshops. Some of the other departments of NSHM Knowledge Campus that participated in the festival were NSHM Media School (NMS), NSHM Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management (NIHTM) and NSHM Business School (NBS) – Sports Management department.
“The wall was the canvas for this project. Any wall carries a possibility of change, resembling something other than what it was previously. That is what artist Skio has done. The wall at NSHM is creating an impact. There is no doubt that art has an immense potential of bringing about change,” Sudipta Dawn said.
A panel discussion on the topic ‘Walls of Change’ saw panelists Arnab Samaddar, illustrator; Hiran Mitra, artist; Swagata Guha, interior designer; Krishnendu Sarkar, director of NSHM; Sudipta Dawn, founder of Culture Monks; and artist Skio.
“Patuas (artisan community) are painters who are carrying the actual philosophy of visual expression. I visited a village in West Bengal for three to four days. The entire village was filled with Madhubani paintings. These art forms, drawing from Ramayan and Mahabharat, have been practised in India for centuries. The language of art needs a connection to its cultural roots,” said Mitra.
“I started working in the field of interior designing in 1993. It was a time when deep thinking was absent. Over the years, we had to explore the subject and come up with different forms of design ourselves. It was a disruptive process, but anything disruptive is followed by creation,” said Guha.
“We have to be mindful of what we paint on the walls of the city. I think renowned artists and the government can work together to bring about a positive change. Not many people go to exhibitions, but everybody has come across a wall painting,” said Samaddar.
Students of NSHM Knowledge Campus put up a cultural programme. Members of Aangan staged a group dance. Subhro Deb Sarkar, a first-year BBA student, performed Odissi to the Rabindrasangeet Bipula taranga re. Students also walked the ramp in ethnic and Western attire. A musical performance by the NSHM Knowledge Campus home band, The Missing Link, was a hit among the audience. A street scene from France was recreated by the students. They dressed up and danced to Have You Ever Seen the Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was attended by Didier Talpain, consul general of France; Saikat Maitra, vice-chancellor of MAKAUT; and Nicolas Facino, director, Alliance Francaise du Bengale.