Gangtok walls will be playing a supporting role in livening up the town for the upcoming Winter Carnival. Several public walls around town are receiving splashes of colour several times more pleasing than the whitewash which used to suffice in the past.
Two artists from Nepal, one of whom goes by the name Mangol Putra and another called Padam Bahadur Lama, are busy with aprons, palettes and brushes to lend a dollop of art and culture to Gangtok’s blank walls. Their work, completed along the STNM Hospital boundary wall at Tibet Road, has already begun impressing Gangtokians.
Walls at Star Hall, below the BSNL office, the mainline taxi stand, the old Tourism Office and STNM Hospital complex are getting a facelift from these artists from Kathmandu who are doing their best to give the otherwise paan-stained walls a total makeover.
Mangol Putra is a canvas and graffiti artist while Padam Bahadur Lama is a thanka painter. Their craft has been drawing crowds, and the finished work, much appreciation.
NOW! caught up with the artists at Tibet Road as they worked the wall opposite the SIMFED office where they have been working since the fifteenth. “We are here doing graffiti on the walls as part of the Winter Carnival 2014. We have been contracted by the Department of Tourism and tasked to highlight the rich culture and heritage of the State through these paintings,” says Mangol Putra.
While thanking the initiative of entrepreneur Bikash Chamling who conceptualized the entire project, Mangol Putra states that he and Padam Bahadur Lama are being assisted by a helper, Santosh Rai also from Kathmandu to finish the entire project within 25 days from when they first started.
“We are giving these drab walls life by showcasing Sikkim’s tourism potential, its natural beauty, religion, biodiversity through fine arts and graffiti. We want the people visiting to look at these walls and get a basic idea of what Sikkim has to offer without anyone saying a word. We want our art to speak,” adds Mangol Putra.
He also believes that art would discourage people from spitting and dirtying the walls since these paintings are also intended at giving the local populace a sense of ownership in their respective localities.
“These paintings will preserve these public spaces to a great extent as they will automatically become a place to visit and spend time. These walls will give the locals a sense of pride and will motivate them to promote Sikkim as a premier destination in the hills. This is a new concept but the idea behind it will stay for a long, long time,” he adds.