As part of their college assessment project six students of Jadavpur University in West Bengal have created a one of a kind Braille Graffiti. This is the first time such a creative project has been created in India.
Six students of West Bengal’s prestigious Jadavpur University have created something rather unique for their class presentation project. That is a Braille Graffiti they conceptualised as part of the final semester core course in their master’s programme for the module Literature and Marginalities (Disability Module).
The presentation the students – Manikankana Sengupta, Subhradeep Chatterjee, Emon Bhattacharya, Chandrima Mukhopadhyaya, Utsa Ghosh and Anik Mondal – have created has two parts. The first looks at Braille graffiti in the West while the second focuses on representation of disability in the graffiti arts. The Braille graffiti has been put up on one of the walls of the UG Arts Building in the university campus.
Ishan Chakraborty, who is visually impaired works at the English Department of the university.
“This is one of those moments when as a teacher you feel so proud of your students. I take immense pride in declaring that this is the first braille graffiti, to the best of my knowledge, in West Bengal, if not in the entire country. We can say this is one of the many small steps towards making the department culturally accessible, which is as important as making the space physically accessible. – Ishan Chakraborty, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University.
Making art accessible to visually impaired
The students came up with the idea on their own and created the graffiti in just six days. The word subaltern has been scripted on the wall and white tennis balls were cut into halves and stuck on the wall with cement. The graffiti is part of an iconic space at the university which is surrounded by thought provoking graffiti on different issues.
“We were inspired by this series of graffiti created in Europe by an artist who goes by the name The Blind”, says Subhradeep. “He uses balls and sticks them to the walls to create graffiti. This is the first time something like this has been done in India”. Jadavpur Univerity has a number of visually impaired students and the display is generating much interest. “We called it ‘subaltern’ as disabled people are subaltern in many ways”, he adds.
For Professor Chakraborty, this is a moment of celebration. “We have been talking about making art accessible to the visually impaired, something that is rather new in India where accessibility is always looked at from the perspective of ramps, etc. This is despite the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act mandating that art and culture be made accessible too”.
These students are helping bring about that much needed change in perspective.