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Coimbatore Central Prison inmates turn painters, use walls to spread positivity

If a prison is conceived as a place of gloom and doom, its walls are testimony to the thousands of stories behind that melancholy.

Published: 26th July 2021 04:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2021 09:19 AM   |  A+A-

A picture of the painted walls at the Coimbatore Central prison, painted by the prison inmates

A picture of the painted walls at the Coimbatore Central prison, painted by the prison inmates | Express

By Express News Service

COIMBATORE:  If prison is conceived as a place of gloom and doom, its walls are testimony to the thousands of stories behind that melancholy. To give those walls a healing touch, five inmates of the Coimbatore Central Prison have turned them into a canvas of colour, bearing murals and story-telling paintings.

“They turned the inner walls colourful, with paintings that spread positivity,” says GB Senthamaraikannan, superintendent of the prison. The inmates and mural enthusiasts — C Billa (31), from Namagiripettai in Namakkal district, K Jagadeesan (34), from Kondalampatti, in Salem, P Selvam (28), Thippampatty, in Salem, G Rajkumar (34), from Kuppuchipalayam, in Namakkal, and M Noorullah (23), from Erode — began painting the walls in 2019 on a trial basis.

They honed their skills through the skill-development classes conducted by the prison authorities, and after seeing their work, the officials let them paint the inner walls of the jail. Prison officials say the artwork could bring about a positive behavioural change in the inmates.

The subjects they chose to paint on are nature and patriotism. They have drawn portraits of personalities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar, and VOC Chidambaram, who was imprisoned in the facility during the British rule. Unwilling to stop with traditional paintings, the five inmates of the Coimbatore Central Prison showcased their talent with 3D paintings too.

Prison walls now a sight for sore eyes

Some of them - shadows of trees on water, a building sketched like a guitar, a person going to prison and returning as a graduate, a 3D tiger emerging from the frame, animals hidden inside the body of an elephant, and a deer with trees as its horns - exhibit their creativity in fantasy themes. The superintendent said the paintings on moral themes enhance the beauty of the prison walls.

“It was boring to look at the blank walls. Now, these five have created a positive environment,” he says. G Shanmuga Sundaram, DIG of Prisons (Coimbatore range), says the effort is a good attempt at promoting positive thinking. “The men transformed white walls into amazing sceneries. It teaches them discipline, and how to commit to completing a task. Inmates can learn from such activities and use these lessons when they are back in their communities,” he explains.



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