'Revolution Unloading': Kashmir's 'anti-India' Walls To Face Official Brush

23 April 2015
Rising Kashmir
Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar: Graffiti, the writing on the walls, in conflict-ridden Kashmir will face an official brush with Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) coming up with an idea of painting the City walls with non-controversial images, depicting Valley's cultural past. SMC has approached noted artist Masood Hussain to paint graffiti on the concrete structure of the busy Hyderpora flyover, a walk away from the residence of Chairman of Hurriyat Confrence (G) Syed Ali Geelani. Officials said the idea behind painting the walls is to depict traditional Kashmir on the City walls. According to them, this would enable the youth, especially the coming generations, to remain abreast with their culture, art and history. 'I got in touch with some well-known artists including Masood sahib of Kashmir valley who first spotted some areas across the City for painting graffiti,' SMC Commissioner, Tufial Matoo said. 'In the first phase, we will start drawing paintings and graffiti on Hyderpora flyover walls,' he said. Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place. Graffiti range from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times. 'As far as the graffiti in Kashmir is concerned, this will be public art. The idea behind this is to beautify the City walls and give people a feel to go into the past through art,' noted artist Masood Hussain told Rising Kashmir. 'Initially we are starting from the Hyderpora flyover in Srinagar, where we have a good wall for drawing some really nice paintings and art works,' he said. Hussain said that the endangered species of the Kashmir Valley will also be depicted through the graffiti or public art. 'This art is something very non-controversial. We will be depicting the Chinar, the Hangul, our village life, where our youngsters and tourists will get a feel of the real Kashmir,' he said. In Kashmir, anti-India graffiti on the walls picked up since 2008 uprising. Many City walls, lanes and by-lanes - mostly in downtown area of the summer capital of Srinagar, are painted with anti-India graffiti or slogans. 'This isn't graffiti. I would call it a mural art or commercial graffiti. Graffiti is something where you depict and showcase the real and strong anti-establishment message on the walls,' an artist of Hussain's group said wishing anonymity. The 22-year-old painter is one among seven members of the group currently working on the project. He said artists could not go into the subconscious state of mind and did show people unreal things. However, the artists believe that the abstract art always has a strong message. 'Every art expresses underlying social and political messages,' the artist said. 'Graffiti is always loaded with a string of socio-political messages. The whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles.' He said that within the hip-hop culture, graffiti has evolved alongside hip-hop music, B-boying, and other elements. In the present times, paint; particularly spray, and marker pens have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. Police in Jammu Kashmir keep an eye on the graffiti artists, who have put up anti-India graffiti at many places in the city. Earlier, a controversial graffiti appeared on the walls of historic Hariparbat Fort in the old city. 'Welcome Taliban, Go India Go Back,' were the words written across the walls of the Fort, which incidentally has a CRPF camp guarding it. Police have been blaming graffiti artists as handiwork of 'few miscreants'.