Bengal village embraces artwork on walls, but shuns poll graffiti | Kolkata News

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AUSGRAM: “All walls are for art’s sake” is a reality in Labandhara village — also known as ‘Alpana’ village — where political graffiti is strictly prohibited, even during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. Nestled amid the forest of Borodoba in Ausgram II block, it is a part of the Ausgram assembly in Burdwan East and falls under the Bolpur Lok Sabha seat. Most houses, even those made of mud, have a variety of motifs on their walls.However, nowhere can one trace poll graffiti endorsing candidates. Only a few flags of political parties can be spotted in the village.
Prof. Arnab Ghosh of the Annapurna Welfare Association said they had started decking up the walls with paintings of the village in 2019. “Initially, the local Annapurna temple was painted with art designs, as we did not have the money for sprucing up its wallswith marbles or tiles. We took the concept from Santiniketan, where there are many such wall paintings,” he said.
Raj Kumar Baidya and Mithun Mondal, two art college students, first took the initiative to paint the walls, and some more later joined them , Ghosh added. One of the artists, Soumen Biswas, who is physically challenged, is also associated with these paintings. “ We paid for painting most of the walls. Later, artist Mithun Mondal took the initiative to decorate the walls in 2022, and he brought in many artists, and we paid partly. We also wanted to create awareness among the villagers so that they do not set bonfires in the forest and preserve it ,” Ghosh said. Now, every year, the artists come to paint the walls, Ghosh said, and it is highly appreciated by all.
“We appealed to all political parties not to damage the walls with graffiti. So, on humanitarian grounds, they don’t put up any graffiti,” said Pranab Karmakar, a school teacher and a resident of Labandhara. Last time, it was painted in Feb 2024, when an art workshop was held in which 48 artists participated from different states. Suman Mondal, another villager, showed that even the Labandhara free primary school, which serves as the polling booth in the village, is decorated with paintings. “There are around 900 voters in the village and adjoining tribal villages,” said Mondal, adding that 50% have a tribal population.
The paintings include folk art and relief. There are paintings of Messi and Ronaldo, too. Toton Bhowmick, an artist from Howrah, did Madhubani painting. Bhowmick said he stayed in the village for two days to paint some of the temples and walls.

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