An initiative titled The Community Art Project (TCAP) has, since 2016, been focusing on reinventing and reclaiming the Tiretta Bazaar Chinese breakfast market as a creative public space by working with the Indian Chinese community and others who live and work in the neighbourhood. On Sunday, the project, undertaken by community development professional Swati Mishra and supported by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH, Calcutta Chapter), launched its theme song — “Cheenapara – The Breakfast Market Song”, written and sung by Thomas Chen, at Nam Soon Church.
“The song is a blend of the bustling neighbourhood known for its food, the various communities and the city,” said Thomas who lives in the neighbourhood.
Tiretta Bazaar is a multi-use public space with an open-air market famous for its early morning Chinese breakfast, which transforms into a parking lot after 10am. “The aim is to re-imagine the public space using low-cost, creative place making, art and sustainable practices by engaging the community in different ways,” said Mishra, 30.
As part of the interventions in the public place, colourful umbrellas with patterns specific to the Chinese community are being used to create “a sense of the place”. Other than that, mobile waste bins and a system for maintaining a clean market place have been put in place. The shutters and walls facing the vendors on the Poddar Court side are being painted keeping in mind the Indian Chinese theme, identified through workshops with the community.
“Since the Chinese breakfast is a culinary treasure and a gift of the community to the city, efforts are being taken so that people who visit know the families who have been making this food for generations. This will give the vendors an identity and people from outside will get to know the English and Chinese names of the foods sold,” said Mishra.
The team has been connecting local and Indian Chinese vendors with corporate houses and their canteens so they can reach out to a bigger clientele. ”We are organizing Tiretta Bazaar pop-ups at various festivals and fairs and promoting amateur artists from the community. We have already held several workshops with Tienchen Huang, a third-generation Kolkata Chinese on wood carvings and Chinese paper cutting,” said Mishra.
“The next generation is showing interest in learning the skill and the bond within the community has also been strengthened,” said Huang, saying he hoped more people visit to get a taste of the culture.
Source: Times of India