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Prison inmates paint their walls in colours of Independence

The district prison of Gurgaon doesn’t look a prison anymore, thanks to its inmates for a patriotic makeover! In an initiative to help the prisoners acquire skills, visual artist Natasha Chanda Bhambri trained eight prisoners under a project, Art Connect.

art and culture Updated: Aug 14, 2016 17:36 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
District Prison Gurgaon,Natasha Chanda Bhambri,Art Connect
Based on a national theme, a team of eight prisoners has painted District Prison Gurgaon under the guidance of contemporary visual artist Natasha Chanda Bhambri.(Waseem Gashroo/HT )

This Independence day, hues of patriotism grace the walls of the district prison of Gurgaon. A team of eight inmates have given the entrance and interiors an artistic makeover by painting murals. From the National Animal, Tiger, to the National Flower, Lotus, the prison walls have been painted in a National theme.

The team that has been working on this project, Art Connect, for the past 4 months is receiving training from contemporary visual artist Natasha Chanda Bhambri. She travels all the way from Noida to Gurgaon everyday to train these eight inmates.

The front wall is divided into two panel showcasing strength, law, peace, diversity and tranquillity. (Waseem Gashroo/HT )

“Among 48 inmates, I selected 12 and finally took eight on board after a general training and test. They were taught mixing of colours, making graphics, painting, maati and other art work. Some of them are really good and I can vouch that they will continue to do great in the future also. The initiative is known as Art Connect. It will help inmates to develop skills that will make it easier for them to lead a quality life after their release,” says Bhambri.

Kites that represent the colours of patriotism.

The artist chose the national theme to develop a sense of patriotism among inmates. “There are two panels on the wall and I wanted to maintain a balance between the two. On the one side we have depicted strength and ability while the other represents command of law and peace of nation. There is a gap between the two panels on which we painted a mural of Mahatma Gandhi,” says Bhambri.

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National animal, Tiger, a symbol of strength at District Prison Gurgaon.

Whether it was the banyan tree or the peacock, the tiger or the Emblem, all the work was done keeping the national theme in mind. “We peeled off a tree bark, dried it and pasted it in the artwork of Mahatma Gandhi to give shades to it and the National Emblem is made of maati work (clay),” says Bhambri.

National Emblem made up of maati work.

The inmates have also installed the artworks made by recycling waste material such as cables, wires and exhaust fan, maati and wood work inside the prison.

This artwork of Mahatma Gandhi is known as wood chip work. (Waseem Gashroo/HT )

Manish, a 29-year-old convict who has been in the jail for the past ten years says, “This artwork is a life-changing experience. People would not look at me favourably earlier but this initiative by Haryana Prison Department, India Vision Foundation and Art Connect has changed my identity.”

Ravi, who has been in the prison for almost seven years, says, “Jab yaha se niklunga to ek hunar lekar jayunga. Khud ko badal kar ab ek accha insaan banunga ( When I will leave the prison, I will have a skill with me. I will change myself and become a good human being).”

Mulakat (meeting) room art installation is a maati work. The room is dedicated to the people who came to visit their friends and relatives in the prison. (Waseem Gashroo/HT )

The artwork, paintings and installations by prisoners is not just a part of rehabilitation but the authority believes that it also helps them to keep the environment positive.

A butterfly made by the wings of exhaust and ceiling fan is also installed inside the prison walls. (Waseem Gashroo/HT )

“The district prison of Gurgaon is the first prison of Haryana which has got a makeover. We want this place to not look like a prison. The artwork is done with a message behind it so that it will help the inmates and us to be a better person,” says DD Tanwar, DSP of District Prison of Gurgaon.

Other artists can also be a part of the noble initiative. They can connect with the project through their Facebook page

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First Published: Aug 14, 2016 17:36 IST