Artwork At Bengaluru Airport's T2 Is An Ode To Human Emotions

These human emotions, namely joy, fear, anger, love, courage, sadness, amazement, disgust, and calmness, are inspired by Bharata Natyashashtra Naurasa
T2, Bengaluru Airport
T2, Bengaluru

If given a choice between art in a public space versus art in a museum or gallery, most of us will likely opt for a personalised experience where we can connect with the artwork. With the idea to engage people and let them pause, reflect and enjoy amidst a busy airport, Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport recently installed 60 artworks at its redesigned Terminal 2. As a tribute to Bengaluru's Garden City, T2 has been spruced up as a terminal in a garden.

Breaking the monotony of fleeting spaces where an airport serves as a mere transit hub between the destination and the traveller, Bengaluru's T2 brims with immersive experiences with illustrations strategically aligned with human emotions in different corners. "We want people to connect with life, with themselves, when they pass through the expansive corners of this terminal," said Yamini Telkar, Head of Art Programme, Bengaluru Airport.

T2 is a tribute to Karnataka's rich cultural heritage and human emotions, based on the theme of Bharata Natyashashtra Naurasa or nine emotions, namely joy (hasya), fear (bhayanaka), anger (raudra), love (shringar), courage (vira), sadness (karuna), amazement (adbhuta), disgust (vibhatsya) and calmness (shanti). These emotions have been morphed into structures that align with the terminal's functionality. "Our first artwork, 'The Bamboo Story', has been placed at the entrance to offer a sense of calm to travellers who enter with many thoughts. Looking at the greens will help them proceed easily," said Telkar.

Artwork at T2, Bengaluru Airport
Artwork at T2, Bengaluru AirportBengaluru Airport

A visually appealing nature story will captivate your eyes when entering the first vestibule (entrance hall). The photographs of mangroves will remind you about the diversity of forests. The two adjacent lobbies also capture snapshots of the green abundance in Karnataka based on its commitment to nurturing a sustainable future.

The Artworks

With contributions from artists across age groups, the artworks have been installed to engage visitors. The idea is to let them plunge into the thought process behind every piece. Contrary to a museum, where the artworks are preserved, the airport experience prompts people to engage with the sculptures through photography and touch.

For example, renowned artist LN Tallur's installation seeks interactivity. Titled "In The Journey Of Naurasa," the artwork features nine birds around a winged deity, signifying Garuda. In Hindu mythology, Garuda has been defined as a mythical bird and the vehicle (Vahana) of Lord Vishnu, known for his speed and strength. The installation also suggests that the early inspiration for the aeroplane itself was a bird.

Artwork at T2, Bengaluru Airport
Artwork at T2, Bengaluru AirportBengaluru Airport

Moreover, the sculpture has a space for passengers to place their heads and take photos, emphasising living in the moment and enjoying their journey. Some other installations that promise to make passengers' journey a memorable experience include Krishnaraj Chonat's copper sculpture, Gaatha and MA Rauf's Bidri art installation and wood puppets by Anupama Hoskere near the boarding gates. Siddharth Kaneria's "Cosmos" is another interesting addition at the terminal. It is a set of blue-hued glass panels with digital prints reflecting eatables to signify different tastes and textures in an Indian thali, in an interpretation of the Naurasa through dishes served on an Indian platter. Besides, there is an array of digital artworks, too.

Sustainability Is the Key

Artwork at T2, Bengaluru Airport
Artwork at T2, Bengaluru AirportBengaluru Airport

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the revamped T2 was brought to life over four years. With artworks by 43 artists, a walkthrough of this terminal will give you a glimpse of how nature has been weaved into the travellers' journey. The verdant planters with water sensors and bamboo ceiling suggest a blend of innovation and technology used in the curation of each area. With locally sourced materials like ivory brown granite, umber red bricks, and traditionally woven rattan, the interiors create a sustainable space.

The Challenges

Artwork at T2, Bengaluru Airport
Artwork at T2, Bengaluru AirportBengaluru Airport

Spread across an area of 2,55,645 square metres, the installations have been placed at both domestic and international departure of Terminal 2. However, accessibility remains a challenge. Only those travelling to T2 get access to artworks. According to their website, "only passengers passing from the terminal can participate in the walkthrough on the day of their journey." They will be required to make bookings for the same to ensure their departure timings and their tour slots don't clash. Secondly, the high-security aspect remains a concern, and the officials won't let you cross certain sections and, at times, restrict the tour.

To book your BLR Airport Art Walkthrough at T2, register here.

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