A walk near the Philosophy Department in the Rajasthan University Campus is taking the students, faculty and visitors by a vibrant and colourful surprise. In a short span of just 3 days between 12 and 14 April, Franco Brazilian artist Lili Totas, along with the children of Back to School Programme of Indian Women Blog, has created a striking mural art themed on gender identities on a wall of the European Languages and Cultural Studies Department. This art work has been created as a part of the Wall Art Festival being organized under the aegis of Bonjour India 2022, an artistic, cultural, educational, and social initiative by the Embassy of France and its cultural service Institut Français en Inde, the Alliance Française Network, and the Consulates of France.
Though conventionally associated with vandalism, street art now has become a significant part of the identity of cities across the globe. Not only does it beautifies and enhances public spaces but also helps to shape the sense of community and define the personality of a city by speaking out on political, social and economic issues, in a clever and succinct manner.
“Even though I have worked with various kinds of art forms, wall art is the closest to my heart. The size of a wall is huge as compared to a canvas or paper, and that gives an artist a bigger room to express their creativity. Moreover, it also gives the artist the opportunity to collaborate and channel their creativity with other people in the community”, shares artist Lili Totas who derives her creativity from the theme of “uprooting”. She expresses this theme through street art techniques using bright colors, round, and soft shapes. These are many nostalgic representations of a political and social claim. Her work also evokes the femininity of a committed citizen. The eye, the feet, the clouds, the Klein blue sky, the boats, the daisies are recurring and constitutive elements of a complex pictorial staging. This disproportionate mouth, carmine red, present in all her creations is her voice, the one she would dream of lending to all those who dare not express themselves.
A hands-on workshop with the children of the Back to School Programme was also organized as a part of this initiative. “In addition to contextualizing gender identities and unleashing the creativity of the children, the initiative also gave them an opportunity to understand and value the importance of virtues like patience, teamwork, sharing and creativity”, shares Lili.
Sharing more about the Wall Art Festival, Director French Institute in Jaipur, Sanjana Sarkar says: “Street art not only addresses the need for interaction and inclusion in a public space. In the context of Lili’s work, it has also transformed a public university wall, that of Rajasthan University’s European Languages and Cultural Studies Department. What wall art does is it brings art to the public and it ruptures the idea that art can only be kept and accessed within a walled space of a gallery or a museum. Lili’s work is especially relevant in this context because it places the question of gender and the role of women in the context of how we view our immediate surroundings and spaces. It has been a conscious effort to contextualise this theme in an educational space where thousands of students can interact, appreciate and understand the implications of this form of art and its place in society.”
The Wall Art Festival celebrates India and France’s shared passion for wall art and painting. In addition to Jaipur, it is also taking place in cities like Lucknow, Chandigarh, Bhopal, Bengaluru and Gurugram.
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