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Murals, graffitti, Madhubani paintings: Mandoli sets art free on Delhi’s jail walls

Prisoners and Mandoli jail authorities have made murals and graffiti to theme-based jails, they are going all out to experiment with the prison’s looks. They have also made Madhubani paintings.

delhi Updated: Jul 02, 2017 11:16 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Madhubani paintings on the walls of one of the six sub-jails at Mandoli prison.(Shiv Sunny/HT Photo)

When Mandoli Jail in east Delhi was ready for operation in October 2016, its dull yellow walls presented an empty canvas for prisoners being transferred to this new jail, to showcase their art.

Two months down the line, the prisoners and jail authorities have made the most of the opportunity. From murals and graffiti to theme-based jails, they are going all out to experiment with the prison’s looks.

The jail authorities are in talks with Delhi University’s College of Art for covering the outside walls of the prison with graffiti. Unlike the inner walls of the prison complex that will be painted by inmates, for security reasons the art on the outer side of the periphery walls will be assigned to college students, if the talks go through.

“The prison walls present a hopeless picture for the inmates. But we believe the art on walls will bring positivity in their lives and hope for an improved life after they leave prison,” said Sudhir Yadav, director general (Delhi prisons).

The first art form to adorn the walls of the jail are Madhubani paintings. Prisoners, guided by experts from outside the jail, have already done Madhubani paintings in and outside one of the two sub-jails which have become operational.

There are a total of six sub-jails in Mandoli Jail, one of them reserved for women inmates. “The other inhabited sub-jail is set to have its walls covered with paintings on the concept of tribal art. We are selecting about two dozen inmates from each sub-jail for this task,” said Shailendra Parihar, who has been made the DIG in-charge of the jail.

“Over the months, the inmates of each of the six sub-jails will paint their walls based on separate themes. The women’s jail will sport paintings on the concept of women empowerment,” said Yadav.

Other ideas for art based on themes are to have paintings that will imbibe the culture of “nationalism and patriotism” in the inmates.

The jail administration also plans to have large murals on the four towers located at the corners of each sub-jail. Mahatma Gandhi, APJ Abdul Kalam and Bhagat Singh are some of the greats whose murals are set to adorn the tower tops.

Apart from going artistic, the jail is strengthening its security arrangements using advanced technology. Among the measures adopted are laser fencing for periphery walls to keep banned objects from being thrown inside, prisoner tracking system to keep a check on the movement of every inmate and use of advanced cameras to keep an eye on activities in most parts of the prison complex.

The jail, mandated to accommodate 3,776 prisoners, turned functional only last October with the relocation of 50 inmates from the overcrowded Tihar to the new jail. So far, about 1,500 prisoners have already been moved to the new prison complex located in East Delhi’s Mandoli.

First Published: Feb 13, 2017 10:25 IST

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