BERHAMPUR: Digital printing has proved to be a bane for poster artists and graffiti painters who not long ago played a crucial role during election campaign in the Silk City. With flexes and banners becoming an important tool for political publicity, there has been a sharp drop in the demand for traditional artists during electioneering.
City-based artist Ram Tanti said, earlier, they received orders for wall painting, cloth banners and graffiti much ahead of the elections and had their hands full with work. The artists, who were much sought after during election campaigns, used to meet the needs of candidates irrespective of political parties. “However, there are no takers for wall painting or graffiti these days now as flexes and banners are faster to make and much cheaper tools to create a buzz,” he said.
Apart from snatching away the livelihood of artists, the flexes also pose a threat to the environment. But the perils of its use are yet to be assessed though a ban has been imposed on polythene, said Tanti who has painted wall graffiti during several elections in the past.
“During the last 30 years, I have witnessed numerous elections, political parties and their candidates. The charm of wall graffiti has been virtually hijacked by digital technology and this time-tested method is a thing of the past now,” he rued.
Owners of offset printers in the city said wall graffiti and art is time-taking and costly. With the click of a mouse, one can get numerous designs and prints on flex sheets in different shapes and sizes, they said.
Not only painters, musicians and singers have also taken a beating at the hands of technology. Earlier, singers and musicians mounted on campaign vehicles and blurting out hit numbers and slogans to attract voters was a common sight during electioneering. But now, they have been replaced by huge sound boxes playing recorded songs and speeches.
The only ones to have been spared by technology are ‘Jodi Sankha’ troupes. With conch being the symbol of the ruling BJD, these troupe members, who specialise in blowing two fused conchs, are in high demand across the State. Artistes in colourful attires blowing conchs while dancing and creating physical formations to the beats of drums is a regular sight during election campaign and other political events of the BJD.