As part of Chennai Corporation’s ‘Singara Chennai 2.0’ initiative to beautify the city, the officials are taking steps in setting up junk arts in important stretches. As an Initial step, 14 structures are planned to be set up across the city.
The Greater Chennai Corporation has its own scrap yard where automobile metal scraps are discarded. Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said they are in the process of putting up one structure after another. He added that the corporation is implementing these initiatives not just to beautify the city but also to bring more awareness on waste recycling.
“Prior to the assembly election, our former Deputy Commissioner Alby John had organised some of the artisans from Andhra Pradesh. A total of about 14 such sculptures were prepared and they were kept at a school campus. When I had gone there during vaccination camp, I saw this and thought such a beautiful art should be put for public display. We planned to put it in scheme-wise, we consulted with the minister and after his approval, we discussed with officials to decide the locations,” he said.
The corporation had provided 15 tonnes of metal scrap to these artists to create these structures. Commissioner Bedi said about Rs 29 lakh has been spent on creating these sculptures. He added that they decided to place the structure thematically.
“For example in front of Marina, we have put up sculptures of sea creatures like a prawn, a crab and a shark fish. In front of the Secretariat, we will put up a sculpture of a fisherman with a boat and a farmer”.
“Near the airport, we have put the sculpture of a man trying to tame a bull implying Jallikattu. We also intend to put sculptures of a Bharatanatyam dancer and a Mrindhangam player there. Towards the Tillai Ganga Nagar subway roundana, we have put up the sculpture of a sailor. We have plans to install a deer, a leopard and a mermaid in other places,” he added.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Srinivas Padakandla (50), Academic Associate and in charge of fine-arts at the Acharya Nagarjuna University College of Architecture and Planning, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, who led the team of artists in creating these junk arts, said these sculptures provide motivation on how we can upcycle the wastage.
“We worked around 10 hours per day for two weeks to create these sculptures. It was an interesting challenge. For one sculpture, be it any figure, we pick up 1.5 or two tonnes of scrap and around 10-15 per cent of it will go waste, so approximately one ton of metal scrap is used to build one structure. Condemned scrap materials from auto or two-wheeler or any other four-wheeler will be present, depending on the concept, we pick up the shape. For example, parts from auto are used for stomach or any body part,” he said.
Srinivas Padakandla, who has been a freelance sculptor for almost 20 years, had created similar structures in other parts of the country and in cities like Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli and Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The artist also claimed that he was appreciated for his work by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat programme.
The junk art sculptures are installed using anti-rusting oil. The corporation officials said they would be coating the structures once a year to prevent them from deteriorating.
Based on the feedback, the civic body is planning to create more such structures and place them across the city. Also, they are planning to provide a facelift to roadside gardens, medians and roundanas by putting various pieces of art effects and more flowering plants among others.
Following the orders of the Madras High Court to make the ever-buzzing Marina shore a world-class beach, the corporation proposed to implement various measures like setting up smart cards, removal of encroachments, setting up children’s play area, mobile toilets, providing accessibility for physically challenged people, smart parking facilities, etc. Commenting on the process, Bedi said there are many facilities which are in the offing but there are legal issues as well and hence whichever is permitted they would be implementing it. “It’s a continuous process, we will try to complete the short-term plans within this year,” he added.
(Artist Srinivas Padakandla can be reached at +91 9246612310)