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Image by Avin CP


Narratives from the Nilgiris

A graphic intervention under the Grounded Imaginaries Fellowship 

What role can street art play in storytelling and the climate crisis?


Can we design inclusive community lead processes?


Where can we use the power of imagination that art brings to reimagine how communities construct their social narratives?

It is hard to fathom how complex the Nilgiris is until you really get into it. As an outsider, before my year and a half of immersion, I knew about the complexities that the elevations create in the bioregion. I was not prepared for the incredible social dynamics and the powerful questions that arose from the first search: "Who is the community I want to work with?"  to "Where does agency fall in creating community lead responses to the climate crisis?"

This is an exploration of designing a new process to create a community engagement through street art under the Grounded Imaginaries Fellowship as a Fellow. This fellowship sought to find alternative responses to the climate crisis that were born of social reimagination. 


This piece by Aarthi Kannan and Aranind K is at Johnson Square, Kotagiri

Aravind states that the beauty of street art is in it's availability for all. It goes beyond galleries or encloses spaces to reach out to anyone who listens, adds Aarthi. 

he wall in Kotagiri is at Johnson Square - one of the most publicly accessed junctions in Kotagiri. Indigenous, local, industrialists, migrant workers and tourists access this location.

The challenge was to design for the community as a reflection of the community's experiences.

Thus, biodiversity loss is highlighted as a reflection of the conversation with the community. They cited the loss of flora and fauna and a disconnect with the Earth with "development" taking precedence over balance.

The Artists

Aadhi Ballan


Janet Orlene


Aravind K


Aarthi Kannan

These are the four artists who were involved with the project. 

Aarthi & Aravind as artists from Bangalore. 

Two artists, new to the geography, learning and taking on community nuances and understanding to create stories with the community

Aadhi as an Alu Kurumba artist from Kotagiri. A local Indigenous artist who only created for and to represent his community learning to tell his understanding and story

Janet as an Artist working with the communities.

One artist, immersed in the geography, people and stories for over a year, with a need to create a wall that facilitates with overheard stories

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