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Walls of JU come alive with colours

by Istiak Ahmed Shimul

Jahangirnagar University (JU) is serene and eye-catching as it is. Surrounded by mother nature, its greenery, open fields, and water bodies are bound to leave one feeling rejuvenated.

But on top of all this, the university now boasts a fresh new attraction: murals.

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Always a staple of the campus, JU’s murals have been taken to a whole new level by its students in recent years. The art presents a sublime feel that almost makes the images come alive in 3-D. The subject matter is so relevant that the spectator forms an instant connection.

As much as they impress the audience, they communicate tales and emotions through visual semantics, and both students and outsiders lap it up, lining up to take photographs in front of the stunning murals.

JU now has around 40 of these murals drawn across the walls of its Teacher-Student Centre (TSC), Jucsu and faculty buildings, dormitories, passenger sheds and transport areas. Some of them are based on movies and cartoons, while others address ongoing sociopolitical issues.

Most of the murals have been painted by a crop of JU’s fine arts students, usually Abdullah Mamur and his team that consists of Aporno Adikary Sikto, Abir Arya, Moung Thing Jaw and Farzad Dihan. Sometimes, students from other departments also join them.

The students and their works have not only made JU a treat to the eyes, but are getting sincere praise in the virtual sphere. Just a few days ago, one of their works went viral on social media, gaining plaudits even from outside the country.

The students’ take on the famous animated film “Song of the Sea”, painted on the walls of TSC, suddenly was all the rage on Facebook a couple of days ago. It was even shared by Tom Moore, the Irish film-maker who directed the movie.

“It’s one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Abdullah Mamur told  this correspondent recently. It was beyond his expectation that his team’s work  would reach Tom Moore himself.

Another artwork at TSC, based on the fan-favourite Japanese animated movie “My Neighbor Totoro” also got appreciated across the board on social media.

“When I first came to the university [in early 2013], I was saddened to see how almost every wall of the campus was taken over by posters by political organisations, coaching centres, or some other kind of advertisement,” Mamur recalled. “It was especially striking because of the natural beauty surrounding JU. The walls seemed to stick out like sore thumbs.”

This pushed Mamur to take action. “Soon, I was talking with Sikto, trying to figure out what to do,” he said.

Their first mural was self-funded, painted on the walls of the passenger shed at Chourangi. However, due to a shortage of funds, they were forced to halt their work after the first few.

“Luckily, we got some donors, especially ex-JU students and well-wishers of the university, who came forward to pay for the paint,” Mamur said. “Soon, more artists started joining us. I feel great to have lived through it all.”



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