Splashes of wall art and islands of greenery give Visakhapatnam its X factor
Visakhapatnam’s location is enviable as it stands with the Eastern Ghats on one side and the deep blue Bay of Bengal on the other. And now, adding to its character are mindful greening initiatives and street art (courtesy Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation or GVMC). For three years now, Visakhapatnam has been on the list of top 10 cleanest cities under the Swachh Survekshan 2018 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. This year it was ranked seventh.
The art on the walls is eclectic and adds something special to the character of the city. On some walls are paintings of MK Gandhi with the message to keep the city clean, scenic stretches with wind mills and people cycling (to promote renewable energy) and other colourful depictions that captures biodiversity. On the Chinna Waltair Main Road, you will spot an elephant and a tiger, created out of a pile of rocks!
All about the city
Nidhi Jamwal, an environment journalist who recently visited the city to address the students of Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, said she found the city striking. “Its clean roads and well-maintained surroundings are notable and the colourfully painted walls provide visual relief and reflect the philosophy to keep the city clean.”
The street art has also inspired BK Agrawal, a city-based photographer. He says loves capturing the images as he goes on his daily walk.
“It feels like an art exhibition. The walls in the city no longer resemble ruins,” he quips. His personal favourites are the terracotta tribal art under the Aslimeta railway station flyover and the splashes of colour near the All India Radio office.
- There have been instances of wall art in the city before. In 2016, city-based artist Kanumuri Srinivasa Rao collaborated with HSBC Bank and a painted portion of the compound wall. Kanumuri says, “I wanted to pay a tribute to the leather puppet and Kalamkari artists of the State.” The painting shows scenes from a school, where the teachers are wearing Kalamari saris and suits. Kanumuri used acrylic paint to revamp 1285 square feet of the wall and the project took three months to be completed.
Hoping GVMC will continue with the good work gynaecologist Sunti Polisetti who is a runner says the beautification drive has definitely changed mindsets. “People now think twice before littering and public urination has reduced significantly.”
She hoped the slum areas in Visakhapatnam will receive the same love and care.
Something for everyone
On the Beach Road that is popular with tourists and locals alike for walking, there is a plantation of palm trees. Over three dozen trees provide shade on hot afternoons, besides making it a favourite spot for film shoots. Sunray Resorts has done it as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Statues of political leaders line Beach Road. The walls behind the them are painted with colourful sea animals. The area is also home to the INS Kurusura Submarine Museum, Navy Aircraft Museum and the Visakha Museum. Other eco-friendly on the Beach Road include solar lighting, e scooters and cycles-on-rent.
“We encourage students to display their art. They can directly reach out to me or the zonal commissioner if they wish to do so. Street art has played a catalytic role in reducing unnecessary posters and the nuisance of public urination.” M Hari Narayanan GVMC commissioner.
Students can contact the appropriate zonal officer from the GVMC website to submit their street art proposal.