Basharat Bashir

Ruined creativity

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

When it comes to art one expects something innovative, extraordinary, sublime. Why not? an artwork should have the tendency to invoke emotions and bring viewer towards it. Artists have been using their skill and creativity from centuries with utmost sincerity to create a relationship between artwork and the viewer and in most of the cases artists have appeared successful. In last few years we have witnessed a lot of art around in the streets on roadside walls, flyover pillars and buildings but unfortunately most of it does not look good. So, for the bad art (street art)that we see around cities of Kashmir whom shall you blame? Obviously, The Artist, but not so fast you probably do not know the whole story of making bad art.

Artist or any artist would not want to ruin his/her reputation by making ordinary piece of mural in a public space. He or she is well aware of the fact that his/her job is with public dealing and in normal circumstances no artist would ever deliberately create an artwork that would haunt him/her for the rest of his/her artistic career. Artist is forced to make an ordinary artwork by the authorities who feel that they know more about art then the artist.  In our valley artist has to face in clingy behaviour of authorities sponsoring the art project. Artists are barred from relishing their freedom and are imposed with predefined standards that the authorities find pleasing. Every now and then artists are used as machines expected to deliver any given representation fulfilling the prejudice of the officer whether or not it suffices the parameters of actual street art.

In case of street art in Kashmir most of it is sponsored by government or semi government organizations and they are obliged to put certain limits on artists they work with. These limits can be accepted and artists of the valley who barely have an opportunity do not bother to live with these limits set by the authority but the problem does not end there. Whether we accept or not artists here are not given the place they expect and deserve, they are treated more like daily wagers who are below the rank of any employee in the office of the sponsoring authority. The vary reason gives them the guts to try to teach art to an artist, to compel artist to work in a certain way that may or may not suffice the composition artist wants to create. In street art any work of art has to have some relationship with its surroundings and artist understands it well. As an artist when you have examined the space offered for a mural/ street art you determine what elements you will have to use, you thoroughly work on the colour composition andbalance to create a relationship within the artwork and outside it with its surroundings.  When you are trying to execute it with your sincere emotions an officer comes on the spot looks around pretending to oversee you and making gestures to show his dissatisfaction with the work. Then after few minutes he calls ‘who’s the artist?’ “Colours of this painting do not look attractive do something about it and the pillars why have you painted them blue? Make them brown/ terracotta”. And before you try to make him understand why you haven’t surrounded your work with “terracotta” colour he ignores you and leaves. As an artist you either leave the project and let some other guy who can barely draw ruin your space or you yourself ruin the space as per officers wish and get paid.

Apart from officer’s unnecessary orders to ruin the Mural/wall painting there are other reasons that prevent artist from presenting public with serious art. Artist that you see working in the street is in almost all cases underpaid. Department initiating the art project wants it done in cheap very cheap. These projects are not awarded directly to artists nor are they intended to help the artist the way they should have. These projects appear to be for the benefit of contractors and now preferring contractorscomingfrom outside of the valley. Artists are deliberately forced to get exploited on the hands of some contractor brought from some other part of the country who does not care to pay the artist his/her dues on time. Srinagar Smart City beautification project is an example of such an art project. Most artists who worked there are yet to receive their dues. Some have spent months making murals around the city just to be left without any payment.  The project that should have benefitted the local artists who do not get such opportunities is further hurting their already worrisome condition.Moreover, our departments do not care about the artist they only want their work to be done cheap, fast and of their personal liking.

If you expect artist to makean astonishing artwork given that he/she has to face all the hurdles and embarrassmentsfrom the concerned Departments as well as the contractors your expectation is not genuine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *