Published on March 8, 2021
International Women’s Day
AHMEDABAD: Passing from near Gujarat University BRTS bus stand, the heads turn when they see an expansive wall art. It takes a couple of seconds for the person to realize that it’s in fact the façade of a public toilet! But it’s not just one instance – the toilets maintained by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) at places such as Gota crossroads, Thaltej crossroads, Mansi crossroads, under Shivranjani flyover, Anandnagar crossroads and near Jivraj Park among others are also painted in myriad hues.
The work is by Priyanka Thaker, an architect by training and a wall artist by passion. “The project took shape in my mind about a year ago. Why can’t we have more art in public place to deck up the city’s look? After brainstorming, I chose public toilets due to multiple reasons – the first and foremost was to improve the perception of a toilet,” she said, adding that she presented the idea to AMC and it was accepted for 15 sites across the city. “After the initial success, we are planning to paint more public toilets soon. My team has also expanded from one to 14.”
Does it improve perception of users? Priyanka answered in affirmative. “Peeing on the outside stops as people think at least once due to the décor. It becomes eye-catching and more people are motivated to visit it. We have so far got good feedback. But more importantly, people now realize that toilets can also be beautified,” she said, adding that she’s not in the know of any major project in India for public toilets.
She uses abstract geometry inspired by cubism as the central theme along with hands. “The work started in pandemic, and we were acutely aware of that human touch. Moreover, hands can convey so much meaning without any cultural or language barriers,” said Priyanka.