Smart Park Art Work: Kids and community members join artists to create murals at Smart Park

Bhubaneswar: In a first-of-its-kind public art event, Temple City Bhubaneswar organized innovative Smart Park Art Work to foster public art and community participation in the parks. This day-long art event took place at the redeveloped BDA Park (Smart Park) in Saheed Nagar area from 6 am onwards today.
With features like graffiti walls, amphitheatre and dedicated spaces for community gardening, this park is being developed on Child Friendly Design Principles and the event has further added vibrancy to the parks, while constructively engaging the citizens.
Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre (BUKC) of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), which had designed the smart parks, was the knowledge partner for this activity and city-based volunteer organisation Bakul Foundation was the art partner for this programmme, organised by Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) as part of Street Art and Mural Project (STAMP). In fact, STAMP has been a tool to beautify space through transforming walls, flyovers, streets and public spaces with meaningful art and it had a major impact during the 22nd Asian Athletic Championships, held in the city, last year.
The event started today from early morning with kids and youngsters from across the city along with young volunteers from Humara Bachpan and general public, while around 30 artists from Bakul Foundation guided the young hands how to paint a concept on a public space. Some of the young artists who actively participated in today’s event included Nikkie Gargi, Dibyush Jena, Soumya Jena, Sibdas Sengupta, Julius Das, who were also joined by experienced hands like artist Satayabhama Majhi, Pinaki Mohanty, Pratap Jena and others. Similarly, young and enthusiastic citizens who donned the mantle for longer hours to create murals on the walls included Saubhagya Beura, Alok Kumar Swain and Rashmi Deshpande, Laxmipriya Swain, Pratibha Dalei among others. , around 30 artists of Bakul Foundation and nearly 100 children of different age groups along with city officials, community members and general citizens actively participated in creation of the murals and art installations on the designated walls for art at the open air galley in the park.
Speaking on the concept, Sujit Mohapatra, Founder, Bakul Foundation said “Though we had earlier collaborated with city authorities for creating murals under flyovers and on the walls in the city, this is the first time we are doing it on designated walls in a park, which in itself is probably being done for the first time in Odisha. Parks are considered shadows of nature and through art we have tried to depict it in collaboration with the city authorities.”
In total, the smart park in Saheed Nagar has 12 designated theme-based walls for murals and graffiti which are also envisioned to double up as open air art exhibition walls in the future. While the broader theme was ‘Art for Relaxation’ or ‘Art as Therapy’ for all the murals, the artists were divided into 12 different groups allowing them to pick a theme for creating the murals on both side of any one of these walls. The kids and community members joined these groups contributing in their own ways for the cause.
The varieties of themes chosen by the artists spanned from art installations using pieces of terracotta tiles to depicting shadow puppetry on the walls, meditating Buddha and abstract forms of modern and contemporary art. Young artist Soumya Jena and his team depicted the popular story of the cow and calf with the tiger through vibrant images shadow puppetry on one of the walls, experienced artist Pinaki Mohanty and his team opted to paint one such wall with birds based on the thought that parks are not only meant for humans but also for birds and other animals.
Similarly, Swayam Prakash Mohanty, a young architect from BUKC of BDA, who has a hobby of making doodles and abstract art, painted one of the walls with his unique abstract art form on the concept ‘Robot in the Wild’.
As Bhubaneswar envisages to become the first child friendly city in India and collaborated with Netherlands based Bernard van Leer Foundation in this regard, several child friendly initiatives in terms of city infrastructure as well as participatory planning with children at the centre have been planned as part of the award winning Bhubaneswar Smart City proposal.
BSCL General Manager (Operations) Bijay Kumar Swain and Deputy Collector Khordha Talat Afreen, were present at the venue and took part in the activities. It may be noted here that all the three child-friendly Smart Parks in Saheed Nagar area have almost reached the completion stage and are expected to be formally inaugurated in the coming months.
It can be noted here that BDA’s open air gyms have created a revolution in attracting people to remain fit and healthy. With the open air art gallery unveiling a new experience of art in the Smart Park, it would certainly bring in a unique experience to park and art in the city, in the days to come.

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