Basharat Bashir

Plight of Street Artists of Kashmir

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Street art serves as a powerful form of artistic expression that reaches beyond the confines of traditional art spaces.By occupying public spaces like walls, roads, billboards or pillars, street art democratizes art, breaking down barriers and inviting everyone to experience its beauty and messages. The best part is street art or public art celebrates artistic freedom, inspiring creativity and making art a part of everyday life.

In recent years, governments around the world have been increasingly sponsoring public art projects. These projects are meant to beautify public spaces, promote cultural diversity and expression, and provide a platform for emerging artists to showcase their talents. However, many street artists who participate in these projects find themselves in a state of melancholy. It is disheartening when they realize that their skill and creativity doesn’t make them any special in the eyes of supervisor assigned by sponsoring organization. They are looked at, and treated as laborers rather than artists, and controlled by people who have no respect for their creativity.

The plight of street artists in government sponsored projects is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. On the one hand, these projects offer a rare opportunity for artists to showcase their work and gain recognition. However, on the other hand, the terms of these projects are often unfavourable to artists, leaving them with little control over their work and minimal compensation for their efforts.Moreover,the overseers of these projects undermine the difference between professionally trained artists and unprofessional painters who lack basic knowledge of proportion and composition. People overseeing the projects often have no knowledge or understanding of street art or art as a whole.. Such circumstances create emotionally unbearable situations for sensitive artists who feel that their creative vision is being stifled or ignored.

Another problem that street artists face in these projects is the lack of creative control they have over their work. Many of these projects are commissioned by government agencies or private developers, and the artists involved are given strict guidelines about what they can and cannot create. And in some cases, the overseers may attempt to impose their own views on what constitutes “good” or “appropriate” art, without any understanding or appreciation for the unique style and aesthetic of street art, this can be frustrating for artists who are used to working independently and being able to express their ideas freely.In places like Kashmir, where career opportunities for artists are scarce and their artistic endeavours often lead to meagre salaries through teaching positions in private schools, artists are forced to confront insurmountable hurdles and reluctantly embrace these projects as a means of mere survival.

Additionally, these government sponsored projects are not directly awarded to artists, but tenders are released and bids are invited from contractors and awarded to one who proposes lowest bid. Artists are than hired by the contractorwho wants them cheap and artists who have no other opportunity are forced to make the deal. street artists in these projects are often treated as laborers rather than artists. They are required to work long hours, often in harsh weather conditions, and are paid very little for their efforts. This is particularly problematic because street art is often seen as a form of expression that is meant to be spontaneous and free-flowing. When artists are treated as laborers, their creativity is stifled, and their work suffers as a result.

Another issue facing street artists in these projects is the lack of recognition they receive for their work. Although their art is often prominently displayed in public spaces, many artists are not given credit for their contributions. This can make it difficult for them to build a reputation and gain recognition for their work, which can limit their opportunities to find new projects and earn a living from their art.

For street artists who are accustomed to working independently and expressing themselves freely, having their work scrutinized and criticized by government officials can be a deeply frustrating and disheartening experience. It can also make it difficult for them to produce work that is authentic and true to their own vision, leading to a decrease in the quality of the work produced.

So what can be done to improve the plight of street artists in government sponsored projects? One solution is to involve artists in the planning and execution of these projects from the outset. This would give them greater creative control over their work and allow them to express their ideas more freely. Additionally, governments and private developers could offer fair compensation to artists for their work, including recognition for their contributions and opportunities to showcase their work beyond the initial project.

For the sake of art and our street artists its necessary to ensure that the individuals overseeing government-sponsored art projects have a basic understanding of art and the unique challenges faced by street artists. This could involve providing training or educational resources to these individuals, or involving experienced street artists in the planning and execution of the project to provide guidance and insight.

In addition, it is important to recognize that street art is a distinct and valuable form of artistic expression that should be respected and celebrated. By creating an environment that is supportive of street artists and their work, we can help to ensure that these artists are able to continue creating and contributing to our cultural landscape.

 Role of Fundamental Training in Art

Fundamental training in art serves as a cornerstone for aspiring artists, providing them with essential skills, knowledge, and a solid foundation upon which to build their artistic practice. While artistic expression can take diverse forms and styles, the importance of fundamental training should not be underestimated.

With the emergence of new artistic trends prioritizing concept over skill and creativity, the significance of fundamental training may seem diminished. While these innovations expand the art spectrum, they also blur the distinction between art and non-art. However, it is crucial to recognize that fundamental training, imparted by art institutions and colleges, remains indispensable in nurturing artistic growth, fostering technical proficiency, stimulating creativity, and facilitating personal artistic development.

Fundamental training in art lays the groundwork for developing technical skills and proficiency in various artistic techniques and mediums. Learning the principles of composition, color theory, perspective, anatomy, and other foundational elements equips artists with the tools needed to effectively communicate their ideas. Mastery of these technical skills allows artists to translate their vision into tangible and visually impactful creations, enhancing their ability to convey complex emotions, narratives, or concepts to their audience.

While there is a notion that art institutions and colleges are becoming irrelevant in the face of new artistic trends that reject traditional training, it is essential to recognize the enduring importance of fundamental training in art. You may sometimes be disheartened and discouraged by you own instructors who confuse you by saying that art cannot be taught or learnt, but one must keep in mind that training provides aspiring artists with a strong foundation of technical skills. It also provides the necessary tools for creative exploration and cultivates skill development, critical thinking, and confidence, empowering artists to effectively express their vision, connect with their audience, and leave a lasting impact. While art evolves, fundamental training remains a constant and invaluable springboard for artistic success and personal growth. Neglecting it would disregard the transformative power of acquiring a comprehensive artistic education.

Art and Children

We have heard many times a quote from Picasso which says that every child is an artist problem is to remain an artist,. Children are attracted to colors and they are eager to scribble on walls or whatever surface they find, it gives them joy. Its not necessary to try to tech children drawing or painting but its important to let children paint and draw on their own. Art activities introduced as fun activities for children can prove beneficial in the overall mental and physical development of children. Here are some examples of how art activities can benefit children.

Art promotes self-expression: Art provides children with a creative outlet to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Through art, children can communicate their emotions, ideas, and perspectives, fostering a sense of self-expression and individuality.

Art encourages visual learning: Art engages children in visual learning experiences, allowing them to observe and interpret visual information. This helps develop their visual-spatial skills, observation abilities, and attention to detail.

Art builds confidence and self-esteem: Art offers children a sense of accomplishment and pride in their creative achievements. The process of creating art and receiving positive feedback helps boost children’s confidence, self-esteem, and belief in their abilities.

Art promotes cultural understanding: Through art, children can explore different cultures, traditions, and historical periods. They can learn about diverse art forms, styles, and artistic expressions from around the world, promoting cultural understanding and appreciation.

Art encourages emotional well-being: Art provides children with an emotional outlet, helping them express and process their feelings in a safe and constructive manner. Art activities can have a calming and therapeutic effect, supporting children’s emotional well-being.

Art promotes problem-solving and resilience: Engaging in art activities involves overcoming challenges, experimenting with different approaches, and finding creative solutions. This cultivates problem-solving skills and resilience in children as they learn to navigate artistic obstacles and adapt their techniques.

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