QUEEN’S ROAD: When 27-year-old Divya Ramachandran started The Happy Wall Project last July, all she wanted to do was bring more colour to the city. Responses poured in to her post on the Facebook group Put Me In Touch, in which she offered to paint creative wall art for free. And today, eight months later, the project has hit a new milestone.
“I have finished painting 100 walls and it has been one hell of a journey,” she says with a grin.
Divya has painted at cafes, gyms, schools, public spaces and homes in Bengaluru and Chennai. Every wall she painted came with a story, she says.
“Once, a young woman requested me to paint the wall of her boyfriend’s room. He was a guitarist going through a difficult time and had stopped playing altogether. She wanted me to make art that would inspire him,” she recalls.
Similarly, there was a man who wanted his daughter to stay in her room and focus on her studies instead of playing outside. And Divya painted musical notes on her wall which got the young girl very excited.
The responses and the stories that she got from the project were worth all the effort, says Divya. “The guitarist played a song for me while I was painting his wall. A Parsi family that I worked for treated me to a traditional meal when I was done. I even painted at the house of a city-based stand-up comedian who performed a set for me. This kind of cultural exchange is worth more than the money I could have charged them,” she says with a smile.
However, not every experience was as good, she admits. “Some people were just glad I was painting their walls for free and were rather rude. In the course of the project, I learnt not to work with people that I don’t share a connection with,” she says.
A graduate from Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, Divya teaches business design at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology. She also partners with Design Evenings, an initiative to organise workshops that teach people how to bring their design ideas to reality.
“The learning space is very idealistic. There is no such thing as an impossible idea there. Working in such a space helps me think and create in an uninhibited fashion. But not every perfect design pans out in the real world. My job as a teacher is to help students with this process of transformation,” she explains.
Her plans for the year include making art to raise awareness about social issues. “I work as part of Investment Zone, a project that involves 10 Germans and 10 Bangaloreans adopting a piece of land in their respective cities and working toward its development. We’re currently working on ideas for the space under the Richmond Circle flyover,” she says.
Divya looks forward to painting more walls in the future and joining hands with like-minded artists. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org