World class murals by some of the finest contemporary 3D Street artists like Tracy Lee Stum, Anat Ronen, Zee Schindler, Julio Jimenez and Sayak Mitra have turned the street-side walls of the state capital into artwork exhibits.
They have been brought to the city by Bakul Foundation for Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC’s) Street Art and Mural Project (STAMP).
Bakul Foundation had played a major role in creating the murals and street art scene of Bhubaneswar, and had got the most prominent murals made for BMC in 2017 with the flyovers at Rajmahal, Acharya Vihar and Jayadev Vihar in addition to painting on the platform of the railway station and public toilets.
It had proposed to the BMC to bring in the best street artists of the world to transform the cityscape with public art.
With an enthusiastic support from the BMC, Tracy Lee Stum, who had visited Bhubaneswar twice earlier as an ‘Arts Ambassador’ of the US Government and conducted workshops at Bakul, agreed to curate a 3D mural project with other celebrated artists, all currently based in the USA. BMC offered them a huge canvas of the sidewalls of flyovers at the most prominent locations in the city such as Vani Vihar, Acharya Vihar, Jayadev Vihar and ID Market turning.
Within a span of 15 days, Tracy herself created one of her biggest murals measuring 110 ft into 24 ft titled, “Over the rainbow”, and that celebrates the city’s development into a child-friendly smart city and presents huge figures of happy children on swings and play.
It appears as if the flyover wall has opened up with children playing with a rainbow in the backdrop, which curls back as a slide as well.
Anat Ronen, originally from Israel, painted another huge mural (70 ft into 28 ft) of the endangered pangolin at Acharya Vihar Square and it looks like a huge dinosaur towering over the tiny vehicles to those uninitiated to wildlife. It again creates a 3D illusion as it appears as if the pangolin is stepping out of the flyover.
Very aptly, it has been located close to the Natural History Museum because of which the pillars of the Acharya Vihar flyover had paintings of birds.
At the Jayadev Vihar flyover, which is close to Kalinga Stadium, where the Hockey World Cup will be played, predictably the theme is hockey in the 3D mural by Julio Jimenez, originally from Mexico.
Zee Schindler, originally from Brazil, took inspiration from the colourful Indian trucks and presented an illusion of trucks breaking through the flyover wall onto the road. In another 3D illusion, she is presenting huge eco-light bulbs plugged into the flyover wall but reflecting the ecological concerns through images of water conservation, wind energy etc.
These world-class 3D murals make Bhubaneswar stand out among all other cities in the country as none of them boast of such interesting site-specific 3D illusions by masters.
While the paintings earlier focused on traditional elements such as crafts and tribal motifs, the murals since 2017 followed a modern and contemporary style reflecting the growing aspirations of a smart city.