Interview with Paper Artist — Creating Room for Thought on Public Art
I was just walking in UB City one day to encounter a public art worth a thought. It was made up of recycled paper and as I stood there contemplating the art, the artist came up to me and had a chat. What materialised after that brief encounter was this interview. Kavya Maddapa is the founder of BlueCat Paper and also the artist of the UB City Mall artwork that is being displayed till early-December. She shares this one line input for each of my questions, giving a brief outline of the public art she was involved in making in Bangalore’s poshest mall.
It’s an attempt to educate the public about paper through the display of public art. This indicates that public art can be a powerful means to communicate information as people take notice of the art and become aware of the situation involved.
The interview follows below:
Note: This is an initiative by Bengaluru by Design and more about this artwork called “Stop and Stair” can be found in this link: https://bengalurubydesign.com/experience/stop-stair-unchained-melody-birds/
Thejas: Tell me briefly about your background and your work.
Artist: I run a resort called Amanvana in Coorg. Bluecat paper is my new venture agreement I recycle cotton bits into paper
Thejas: What is the purpose of the artwork you’ve displayed in UB City?
Artist: Bengaluru by design approached us and asked us to do this installation for the staircase. We took this opportunity to educate people that they don’t need to cut trees for paper. To keep the trees for the birds
Thejas: What reactions and responses do people have towards the work displayed?
Artist: There has been curiosity and disbelief that paper can be made from cotton cloth
Thejas: What other exhibits have you undertaken?
Bluecatpaper is new. This is our first
Thejas: What was the process involved before installing the work in the mall? Who did you have to communicate with and take permission from?
Artist: The mall authorities supported us.We had to get over a 1000 sheets and 1200 birds all handmade ready. We painstakingly stuck every sheet of paper at right angles and then the birds to depict flight
Thejas: Have you thought about installing in public spaces? Why did you choose an indoor space to display? Is this a common trend in Bangalore?
Artist: Yes we can. If we are commissioned
Thejas: What geographical effect does the artwork have such as does it create a sense of place or create new thinking?
Artist: We hope people will choose alternative options of paper. Yes handmade paper is slightly expensive. But the benefits to the environment outweighs the cost difference
Thejas: So you consider your work as part of public art?
Artist: Yes of course. We have not been paid for this Installation
Thejas: How can future artists learn from this project to display their own work in Bangalore?
Artist: They can contact Bengaluru by design and art Bengaluru
Thejas: Please add anything more you wish to add.
Artist: Please choose earth friendly products. At Bluecatpaper we convert our paper into products that people can replace their plastic accessories with. The website is: www.bluecatpaper.com
The artist did not mention the project in detail but you can get a glimpse of it from the above interview.
UB City Mall displays artworks on a regular basis to showcase public art and also beautify it’s space. While public art is usually displayed outdoors in open in most developed countries, as a developing country, India does not have the luxury or infrastructure for public displays such as this. It is also that the culture focusses on statues and bronze work in parks and semi-public spaces and does not involve modern and postmodern public artworks in public spaces. The concept is new to India and unheard of.
Although there are a few artists involved in interactive public art which stimulates thought, it is usually not displayed outside because of vandalism fears and fear of public security. However, as malls are more secure, artists feel free to display their work in established malls such as UB City. Private firms are usually the one who involve in this unlike the West where the councils and governments take a strong hold of public issues such as public art. This provides some room for thought and can also instigate change in the public realm. Displaying artworks such as the one above is important not only to raise awareness of strong issues but also for appreciation and importance of public art to the general public.