It’s an art gali with a quirk. What was once a dark, dull basement parking area, has been transformed into a colourful creative space with paintings on its bare, whitewashed pillars. This basement is in Olive County, a society in Vasundhara.
And who led this brilliant transformation of a garage into a gallery? Hemant Passi.
Passi, an international tour operator, moved into the society about three years back. "It was an attempt to encourage children to paint. Anyone can adopt a pillar and start working on it. I had discussed the idea with some of my friends — to let their children go down and paint the pillars. Everybody agreed. What was once a grim, unwelcome place now stops people in their tracks,” he says, with a hint of pride.
Passi feels school projects lose their value for children once the session is over, but these paintings continue to motivate them.
Work started in June 2016, and so far, the artists have managed to decorate almost 100 pillars. The children usually take time out for the project during vacations and other holidays.
The drive quickly gained momentum, and more and more people started taking notice.
Says Aarush Asija, a student of mass communication, and one of the budding painters, “I was interested in the project because it would give the basement a facelift. We felt really motivated by Mr Passi, who put the entire show together.”
Ananya Jain of Class IX readily agrees. She says, “We have turned the basement into a place which can inspire and motivate."
“All that the children needed was a little push," adds Passi. "They have now formed their own groups — they brainstorm, they develop their own ideas and help out each other. It’s a great lesson in team building.”
“We want to encourage the female residents of the society too. It would be great if they could manage some time for the project,” Passi says.
The pillars were picked over walls, as painting walls would require more experience and resources. The pillars kind of became individual work stations.
Passi recounts, "Some of the residents suggested holding competitions, but I was stubbornly against it. This idea is not to compete but to stand as a symbol of joint participation and teamwork.”
The AOA members are full of praise for the effort. KVS Tyagi, AOA president, is even planning to provide more space to the artists. The AOA also had plaster applied to the pillars for a smoother canvas.
However, funds continue to be a problem, Passi says. “A little financial support would be a huge help,” he adds.
But the creative space is not limited to paintings alone. Passi says, “It’s about art in any form — handicraft items for decorations, clay models — anything, really! In fact, last Diwali, the children came up with handmade lamps for decoration.”
So if you happen to be at Olive County, do not miss a visit to this quirky art gallery.