There is good news for artists and art lovers. The public art works executed as part of the Mural City Project in the town have survived the onslaught of the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections.

“It is a good sign. And it gives us confidence to move ahead with execution of public art on more media,” says K.A. Francis, Chairman, Kerala Lalithakala Akademi.

Month-long project

The month-long project to turn the town into a repertoire of mural art from across the world was taken up during April-May 2013.

While many of the works were executed in the interiors of public buildings, many others were done at public places.

The complex works which decorated the main gate of the Municipal Grounds, Thirunakkara; outer walls of the Kottayam District Hospital; and the Kottayam (East) Police Station could have been easy targets for campaigners to paste their posters. Most of the empty walls were taken over by various political parties to paint their announcements and political messages.

In fact, at the launch of the Mural City Project, political leaders, including Finance Minister K.M. Mani, had expressed fear that they would be left with no space during elections. Moreover, for many trade union organisations and service organisations, the walls could have been an easy target to announce their State and district conferences and agitations.

Major concern

Even at the outset, the art lovers had identified politicians and elections as the major threat to public art in the town.

“This shows our people have reverence for the traditional art forms,” said Kanayi Kunjiraman, one of the senior artists responsible for the revival of murals in Kerala, taking it out of the confines of temples and making it a secular art form.

Nearly 15 years back, when he was the chairman of the akademi, he had led a mural art camp at the Asan Memorial at Thonnackal. “This will help Kottayam, already called Land of Letters, to become the Land of Art,” he says.

In Kottayam, the walls with the murals have overcome all such assaults. Posters have been pasted near to the art works by workers of political parties but the murals had been left alone.

New project

“It shows the people are mature enough to appreciate public art,” said Mr. Francis. Encouraged by the development, the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi is planning a series of relief works in the town, he said. The project is expected to start after Vishu. The Akademi has already commenced the renovation work on the murals executed last year.