Popular ‘Pride’ wall art on Kozhikode beach ruined by CITU’s posters 

The elaborate wall art was painted by Kozhikode’s Chupply twins, who are well known wall artists in the city.
Pride art Kozhikode
Pride art Kozhikode

A turquoise scooter with one tyre is painted on the background of pride hues. Attached to the bike is a golden gramophone horn with a white dove flying out. This striking artwork, titled ‘Pride Ride’, is among the most popular wall paintings on Kozhikode’s Gujarati street, near the city’s beach area. Created by the Chupply twins back in November 2019, ‘Pride Ride’ was made as an ode to the LGBTQ+ community and has been attracting attention for one year now. But earlier this week, the artwork was vandalised by unknown men, who stuck posters calling for the trade unions’ nationwide strike on November 26.

A video showing four posters stuck on the painting drew attention, with several of the city’s residents and art lovers expressing shock and dismay at seeing the artwork vandalised. “The posters were removed from the painting. But the glue used has chipped away the painting and the art is now ruined,” says Gasin Gavi, one of the two Chupply brothers, who created the work. Gasin and his brother Gavin are well known artists in Kozhikode, who specialise in wall art, denim art and other styles.

Speaking to TNM, Gasin added that the painting was commissioned by a neighbourhood cafe with pride being the central theme. “We took 10-15 days to conceptualise and paint the wall. The work itself is 12 feet in length and 5 or 6 feet wide. When it rained, we put sheets over our heads and painted. It was done with help from friends,” he says.

The white bird flying out of the gramophone horn symbolises freedom — freedom to choose, freedom to love and freedom to live life without fear, Gasin adds. While the brothers were in Kolkata when they heard about their work being ruined, those who took videos of the painting told TNM that the CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) backed by the CPI(M) were responsible for sticking the posters. No official complaint has been registered in the incident.

“For really long, the Kozhikode beach, especially the Valiyangadi, has been filled with businesses, shops and commercial godowns etc. and has been teeming with Union employees. For a few years now, lots of cafes, restaurants and art galleries etc. have come up in the area. This could probably have annoyed the Union workers, who felt that the changing nature of the establishments in the area could affect their jobs here,” Shafi* one among two artists who took a video of the painting, told TNM.

The painting was created using both emulsion and acrylic paints. The artist brothers have decided to not pursue the issue legally.

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