The Darpana Academy was the scene of some hectic activity over the weekend as French artist Superbab created a new backdrop for the Natrani Amphitheatre. Done in myriad colours, featuring the moon, stars and sitars, the colourful mural is meant to be tribute to the performing arts. “It is a very vibrant piece of work,” says Darpana Academy’s Director Mallika Sarabhai. “We have always wanted that wall painted, so when the Alliance Francaise came to us with this idea, we were glad to participate.”
The project is a part of the pan-India Wall Art Festival organised by Alliance Francaise (AF). Last year, the festival saw murals created at the Gujarat University, which are now a very prominent presence on the campus. Says AF Ahmedabad director Emmanuel Bottiau: “This year we approached Natrani because Mallika Sarabhai has a long association with French culture and was once the President of AF Ahmedabad. Besides, the riverfront setting is ideal for this kind of art.”
Through the weekend, which saw temperatures soaring in Ahmedabad, with high humidity to boot, Darpana threw open its gates to those interested in getting involved in the creative process. Many, including Mallika, made suggestions as the mural progressed. “I asked Superbab to incorporate an eye into the mural at the end. It is a part of traditional temple art,” says Mallika.
Now in its third edition, the Wall Art Festival will cover 13 Indian cities as well as Colombo this year. Superbab (whose real name is Barnabe) flew to Kolkata from Ahmedabad on Monday and will later travel to Pune and Chandigarh. Three other muralists, Jace, Sandre and Millerink are doing murals in other cities, all of which have AF Centres.