Kashmiri students use graffiti, artistry to make public spaces more alive in Srinagar

Students of the School of Architecture of the University of Kashmir (KU) and the Department of Architecture of Islamic University of School and Technology (IUST) were involved in the project
A student creates graffiti in Srinagar | Pic: ANI
A student creates graffiti in Srinagar | Pic: ANI

Students in Srinagar are on a trip to beautify the scenic city further. Using graffiti as their implement of choice, students of the School of Architecture of the University of Kashmir (KU) and the Department of Architecture of Islamic University of School and Technology (IUST) are adding more colour to Kashmir's capital.

The event took place on Friday as part of the placemaking marathon under the Srinagar Smart City Project. The marathon was organised by the Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL) outside the Sher-e-Kashmir (SK) Park. Students of architecture, engineers, planners and other dignitaries took part.

Students showcased how visual art can be displayed in public spaces rather than confining it to art galleries and museums. They also highlighted how visual art can become a tool in placemaking and addressing various urban issues. For this beautification project, the students used several graphics in the particular patch that connects with the river Jhelum.

Speaking to ANI, Ibtikhar Kakroo, Chief Engineer of Srinagar Smart City, said the main motto of this placemaking marathon is to create public places in the city and to attract tourists. "This area has been designated as a public place and students are creating graffiti to make it more attractive. They are also creating games for children. The students will also plant saplings in the area and will also use other decorative items. By modifying this place, we are planning to make this place a plaza of sorts," said Kakroo.

He added, "We are planning to make Srinagar a smart city not only in terms of aesthetics but also in terms of facilities. We are developing the riverfront of Jhelum and this placemaking project is a part of it." Anuj Malhotra, General Manager of Planning and Urban Development, Srinagar said they are trying to make a good and vibrant public place for the people of Srinagar and other tourists.

Joya Khan, ISUT faculty, said, "It is not just a visual decoration but we are also trying to highlight our rich cultural heritage. These students also get exposure to make art in public places. The students of Fine Arts are taking part in this initiative to help create a smart city and make Srinagar more attractive to tourists. It is our duty to clean and beautify the public place."

Speaking on the occasion, Saahid, an architecture student, said, "We have made abstract art and we are also making a chessboard as well as snake and ladders. This will increase tourism in a positive way and as an artist, we are also getting exposure to working in the field."

Another student, Saamin, said that they are just activating public places by not only making it beautiful but also creating awareness among the public. She said these public places need people's attention to make them clean, decorated and beautiful. "There are very few public places in Kashmir. So we are creating a plaza outside the Sher-e-Kashmir (SK) Park. This is the project by the public and for the public," added Saamin.

The nationwide placemaking marathon is being held under the Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM), which is an initiative of the central government to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of its people, culture, and achievements. Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL) under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has planned numerous events across Srinagar City as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

This Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have not only been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey but also hold within them the power and potential to enable the vision of new India, fuelled by the spirit of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Edited by Bidushi Das

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