MERAKI – ART IN UNCONVENTIONAL PLACES
Ashwini Sreekumar, Undergraduate Batch of 2022
The beauty of art lies in the absence of boundaries. And at Ashoka, students are determined to see how far creativity can take them. Here I explore two instances of art in unconventional places.
At first glance Room No. 418 seems like your typical college students room. But the scattered clothes and relatively well-made beds give way to two beautiful pieces of art behind the curtains. Quite literally.
On the covered side of the window blinds, hidden from the view of gazing eyes are two Japanese manga-inspired paintings. The first blind reveals a reference to the series, Tokyo Ghoul with Greek words that translate into “I can neither live with you, nor without you”, the same words are tattooed on the neck of the protagonist, Uta. The second, with its sakura trees, has the words “太フた男” which Google (probably incorrectly) translates into Fat Man. Both these paintings are accompanied by a small message from its artists on the window sill – “Take care of this room. Many great memories were made here.” Nobody knows who painted these nor when they did.
An elevator ride to the 8th floor of the same building uncovers another piece of art in a medium famously seen on the streets of New York. As the elevator doors open, your eyes feast upon a wall of graffiti. From Rock Lee to ramen, this wall illustrates everything that makes college life memorable.
A hand clutching a cigarette (with the mandatory skulls of course), a UNO wild card and a little toaster that says ‘brotherhood’ in Hindi takes up most of the graffiti. Upon closer inspection, you can see the Arctic Monkeys’s logo and a few lines left unfinished, probably for those artists who’ll come along later.
No graffiti is complete without a few Hindi movie references, “a phrase in a language many can’t read and a shout out to the artists.” This piece of art reflects what the 8th floor is famous for. The parties, games and the revelling that never seem to cease.
But on the other side of the corridor away from the loudness of the graffiti stands a lonely flamingo with a pretty, pink flower for the body.
In Ashoka, art has been used for everything from recreation to expressing dissent. And as somebody once said, “Art is freedom. Being able to bend things that most people see as a straight line.”