The lost art of handpainted cinema hoardings


This is about the launch of the book, The Nine Emotions of Indian Cinema Hoardings. It’s about the dying art of cinema billboard painting and the artists’ struggle to keep themselves afloat. These mammoth, hand-painted advertisements have all but disappeared from our streets as cheap, digital vinyl printouts take over. The book combines the wonder of cinema with the politics of seeing and analyses their uneasy relationship with commerce.

The show is in Chennai this Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. at Ashvita Art Gallery.

The original artwork that was used in the book will be on show during the launch. The exhibition has completed a successful six-month run at the prestigious Kunsthal Museum, where it opened in conjunction with the Rotterdam Film Festival earlier this year. After a tour in India, the show will travel to London.

5 Comments so far

  1. Navaneethan Santhanam (unregistered) on December 6th, 2007 @ 8:10 am

    That’s a fantastic poster – sad to see an art such as this being lost in the digital age.

  2. Madhavi Sethupathi (unregistered) on December 6th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at this exhibition and I think its a must-see! So often we tend to value ‘art’ from abroad while ignoring our local artists and their endeavours. This is kitsch alright but kitsch of a high order!

  3. Navneeth (unregistered) on December 6th, 2007 @ 8:08 pm

    HA…I was thinking about the same thing this morning. The lack of hand-painted hoardings, that is. I think it was something I read about posters of Gemini Studios’ productions inside the Park Hotel, sitting in the back of my mind, that prompted it.

  4. Shyam (unregistered) on December 7th, 2007 @ 8:34 pm

    I do not know if this is the same, but I remember reading something about someone writing a book on South Indian cinema posters. It had some posters of old BW Sivaji/MGR/JJ films to describe the news article (I think it was some international mag). Good to see such offbeat themes.

    On the same topic, one of my friends’ relations was a cinema painter, i.e. he painted cinema ads, backdrops, hoardings, etc. Back then (10+ years ago) it was not a very lucrative profession, I wonder what is the status now. Probably laid off due to new technology, where everything is designed and printed through computers.

  5. keerthi k (unregistered) on December 8th, 2007 @ 9:05 am

    nice post…are you familiar with people who trade tamil film posters.

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