Green Cities

Street Art Goes Green in Varanasi

Green Your City India Series: Green Varanasi Traditional art designs are found throughout India, making them a powerful tool for promoting environmental awareness among the public. Art depicting cultural scenes and traditional shapes evokes a connection between residents and the areas they frequent.  Calling attention to the emerging Green Revolution in India, the Department of Painting in Banaras Hindu University, a public university in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, worked to convert a bleak concrete wall in the city into a dynamic mural as part of Earth Day Network India’s  शहर GREEN करो – It’s Our Turn to Lead contest.   What used to be an unofficial waste dumping area is now a monumental mural at the Little Flower House School in Varanasi thanks to Professor Suresh K. Nair from the Department of Painting and his students. The students created and painted a 20 ft by 40 ft mural representing the 5 elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space.   “Using murals, we spread environment consciousness among students, citizens, as well as the thousands of tourists who visit this heritage city,” said Professor Nair.   Although street art is often frowned upon, in India’s case it holds a great deal of hope and power. Street art has the potential to take littered and trashed streets and convert them into spaces of art that can be used to empower and bolster the environmental movement in India. The artwork increases the integrity of the areas and can be use to prevent further littering in the streets and environment.   The positive response from the community has encouraged the students to pledge to convert other areas in the city into canvases for artwork that inspires people to take the lead in the protection and conservation of natural resources. The team further advocates for other students and community members to join this project. By taking action to paint their community green, students can raise environmental awareness among residents across Varanasi and make a powerful impact in their community towards a Green India.   To commemorate Earth Day Every Day, the team will organize seminars, art camps, art competitions, screen short films and hold exhibitions for greening the city further through art. Green Varanasai won Earth Day Network India’s Green Your City competition. Check out more pictures on how they made the mural here!