Thanedhar. Walls Chosen.

Thanedhar. Walls Chosen.

The beginning of the process. Picking out the 2 areas that we wanted to paint. Since it was the first walls to be painted wanted to make it count.

We decided to paint the bus shelter where everyone waits for the local buses and is a focal point of the village center. The buses transports the people to Shimla, Narkanda, Rampur and other nearby villages.

The other wall we decided upon was one that could be seen along in the same vantage point as the bus shelter.

Exciting!

The beginnings.

The beginnings.

Started work on Thursday on advise from the village locals. Thursday for the locals is an auspicious day it's called Guruvar. So beginning Himalayan Grove Collective on that day was a good sign.

We did encounter a glitch though the previous day. Senkoe asked if it would be possible to get a projector to trace out his sketch onto the wall. The probability of getting a projector was pretty slim.

We did manage to source one after getting the whole valley involved however it did not turn on. We had 5 local men doing everything they could to have it turn on. Bummer!

Luckily Senkoe was not disheartened and made do with found objects : A very long bamboo stick that was initially set aside for possible scaffolding with a paintbrush stuck to the center was his perspective brush. His Iphone was used as his go to reference for his sketch. Senkoe was an absolute pro! Thank you.

The idea coming to life.

The idea coming to life.

Senkoe in the process of creating his idea onto the wall. A juxtaposition of Namaste (I bow to the divine in you) greeting with the beautiful Himalayan Magpie birds with a blue long tail. We discussed and agreed it should be a piece inspired by the colour's and patterns from Mexico as well as an Indian vibe. Himalayan Grove Collective vision is to bridge the cultural divide through the medium of the arts. It is a dialogue-collaboration between different cultures set in a beautiful part of the world. Instead of making walls we are breaking them through beauty, positivity, and ideas by collaborating with passionate people.

After we decided on this idea we found out through the village gossip that the people were wondering why we had given such importance to the birds. We were like huh? Birds for us was a no brainer. It was such an obvious choice because they are so colourful and beautiful and you can constantly hear them singing and watching them soar in the skies - mesmerizing.

To the villagers, who are predominantly farmers, birds even the beautiful ones are considered to be flying pest.  All birds no matter how beautiful damage all the crops. Oops! and here we thought nature was so beautiful. Eventually the people grew to love what we created and begun to see our vision. Whew.

 

 

Filling in the details with the help of our new found friends.

Filling in the details with the help of our new found friends.

Senkoe being a monkey and maneuvering between all sorts of ladders to bring his creation to life. Made do with any climbing device that could help us reach.  Wehad a Gorkha with us throughout to make sure we did not fall. The local Chai stalls grand daughter Nanu who we started lovingly calling Tornado was also our constant companion.

Both the Gorkha and Tornado were with us every single day making sure we did not fall down, to assist and to give us lots of laughs and keep the love and fun alive.

First day Tornado who does not speak at all was shy and coy when around us. By day 2 she was wanting to climb up the ladder,
shake the spray cans and be very much part of the process. We had to keep a constant watchful eye on her mischievous ways. We witnessed the confidence building with not only her, but all the children who came to help us. Pure Joy! We cannot wait to go back and nurture , encourage that confidence in these kids!

Welcome Himalayan Magical Birds : Thanedar Bazaar

Filling in the grey.

Filling in the grey.

Richard a close friend who has never painted a mural before working hard to assist Senkoe. We all learned a few new skills after this trip. Cannot wait to keep learning. Everyone who is part of this process is learning

The business above looking outside their window. They got a face lift and not only that a new sign in due time!

Getting the children to help us.

Getting the children to help us.

One of our happiest moments of the project was to see the children collectively helping out on their wall. We did not know quite how we were going to get the children involved but it was a MUST.

The vision for Himalayan Grove Collective is first and foremost to empower the kids and the community. All of these kids have never had the opportunity to pick up a paint brush and paint on a wall, not even in their local school. We each gave the kids a specific colour of paint and told them just to paint circles. To work as a team and collaborate so that each colour is equally covered in the space. What was really nice to see that their were 2 kids (a boy and a girl) who were not confident in their ability at all to paint circles in the beginning but by the end they stuck it out and endured. By the end their confidence was beginning to shine through. They were the last to leave. The little girl did not want to leave the wall. It was a special day and a first for all of us.

Remember little Tornado. Well by day 3 you could not miss her. She also very much wanted to be part of everything. So what did we do? We gave her a paintbrush and her own paint with a cardboard box and let her go to town. She loved every minute of it and so did we! 

Our Chidiya! (Our bird!)

Our Chidiya! (Our bird!)

The school mates after school head our way to play by the wall! These friends could not get enough of the colours and the birds. At least the kids had our back when looking at the birds as natures beautiful inspiration as opposed to ugly pests. Down with the kids we were! Yes! !

Each kid was forming an opinion of which bird was their favourite and why? 

 

Let the Jaadu Pahari Birds (Magical Himalayan Birds) greet you.

Let the Jaadu Pahari Birds (Magical Himalayan Birds) greet you.

3 days. A bamboo stick with a paintbrush. 4 litres of white apex paint to coat the brick work. 60 cans of spray paint. 4 litres of grey paint (could not find black water based paint up in the hills) had to use black stainer with white apex paint. 3 various types of ladders. A handful of brushes. Help of 14 kids. Help and support of the community. Laughter. Gossip. Good vibes. Hardwork and the talent of Senkoe. That's what it took to get the wall done.

Picture of the finished wall.

Detail of the Jaddu bird wall.

Detail of the Jaddu bird wall.

You can see how we incorporated the existing advertisement in Hindi as part of the design. Also do not miss the circles that the kids painted in the belly of the bird.

We have encouraged the children to definitely take ownership of this wall as if it were their own.

Finished wall

Finished wall

Natural habitat.

Natural habitat.

The finished wall taken from a different perspective. The Finished wall adorns a building that the local village farmers rent out. It is also next to the apple packing and grading building.

During the apple season trucks will be parking in front and loading crates of apples that will be heading all over India for consumption.

The beating heart of the village.

The beating heart of the village.

The next wall that we chose to paint is the center of the village. It's the go to spot where people take cover when it rains and also when they wait for the local bus. The bus connects the people to other local villages as well as the larger cities of Rampur and Shimla.

We decided that this would be the perfect wall for the children to paint and take ownership of.  Senkoe decided the design, with brush and paint at hand painted the overall pattern. We then handed different colours of paint to the kids to fill in.

Before starting to paint we had to even out the texture of the wall. No coarse brushes to be found so we attacked the wall with the ends of the spray cans. Improvisation! We all got to work! Here we are chipping away at the paint and then cleaning the area. Initial prep work of the wall.

Paint by Numbers.

Paint by Numbers.

We gave the kids the brushes and the paints and as a team we all got painting.

We managed with the help of their teacher and the village elder to get these kids the day off from school. Without their help we definitely could not have managed to have the bus shelter done in 2 days. Awesome to see the team work!

Team work.

Team work.

Bus shelter coming to life in process.  Hard at work.

Children Painting the Bus Shelter

Painting is fun.

Painting is fun.

Boys being boys/monkeys!

Boys being boys/monkeys!

The boys loved the opportunity to climb up and paint the top of the bus shelter.

The finished bus shelter from a distance.

The finished bus shelter from a distance.