Big Picture Contest
Where is this mural showing happy faces located?
The mural has been created in Chennai’s Kannagi Nagar – India’s fifth art district.
Kannagi Nagar in Chennai is a resettlement colony that is home to over 80,000 people. Hitherto one of the less cared-for parts of the city, recent years have seen it being transformed into the city’s first art district. Artists from Germany, France and other parts of India have been painting the walls of Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board tenements to create an art district which takes art out of the confines of galleries into public spaces.
This initiative is by Greater Chennai Corporation in coordination with St+art, a foundation based in Delhi, which has already created four art districts – in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Goa. Around six artists and 16 art assistants are involved in the process to create art on the walls of the tenements.
In 2022, the city of Chennai is seeing the third edition of the Kannagi Art District. Six murals covering seven blocks are being done in this phase, with Indian artist and architect Aashti Miller and German illustrator Greta Von Richthofen, will create a mural in a cross-cultural collaboration, bringing us into a journey of coexistence in diversity and exploration beyond borders. Kannagi Art District aims to grow as a study in public art that can redefine contemporary art viewing, broaden conversations surrounding art, architecture, sustainability, and the future of urban environments.
Prior to this, Kannagi Nagar had many connotations to city residents, stemming from it being India’s largest displacement colony, with residents from diverse backgrounds, especially a large number of people who were from the fishermen community and had to shift due to displacement. Over time, the area had become infamous with residents from here finding it difficult to find jobs in the city. The art that has been created is thus, also aimed at changing perceptions of the area.