KOCHI: The next time you walk across the Vasco da Gama Square in Fort Kochi, it is hardly likely that you will miss ‘the wall’. Christened ‘The Wall Project’ by three artists- Appu Antony, Shilpa Antony and Rachel Koshy- it is a befitting tribute to the fishermen community who were indispensable in the rescue operations during the floods.
The artists say the work has been done in the spirit of the Biennale and is also an effort to tell foreigners about the heroism shown by the fishermen community in the face of Kerala’s worst tragedy.
“We had done a similar wall project during the last Biennale in 2016. It was titled ‘The Wings’. The theme was relatable to children, teenagers, parents or even the elderly and it conveyed a global message. This year we decided to work on a painting that would represent a message in its entirety and which was relatable to everyone. This is why we decided to paint the image of two fishermen casting their nets. We hope it becomes a global image,” said Rachel.
The artists worked on the project for five days. “There were many foreigners who came to us during their visit to the Vasco da Gama Square and asked us what we were painting. We would tell them of the floods and how much destruction it caused the state and how Kerala is still trying to rise from the disaster. Many of them are intrigued. The Indian crowd who visit are very pleased that we have taken up a general sentiment and taken the message to the streets. They are also very empathetic with their gratitude to the fishermen,” she added.
The painting has a writing on the wall- ‘#2018, A tribute to our Kerala fishermen’. “We initially didn’t think of using any words to describe our painting. However, we realised later that it could be misintepreted because fishermen community are very synonymous to Kerala. We felt people would think that our work was just a representation of the state when it was an actual tribute,” Rachel said.
In the painting, two fishermen are seen throwing their net into the sea, which is a representation of the efforts they took for the rescue operations.