On the 19th – 21st of May, as part of the Pune Speaking Walls project artists from Pune, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai along with the Aravani Art Project in collaboration with the Transgender community of Pune painted walls in a public space to raise awareness and create a place for a discourse, to break stereotyping and discrimination.

The intent of the Aravani Art Project was to involve the transgender women in the entire process of the project. Hence, paintings on the walls of the red light area were done as way to get the attention of the transgender women and encourage them to join in as well. Over the course of the project, around 20 transgender women joined in, while the others stood around watching them. They were curious to know what was going on, however they were still a little uncomfortable to get their hands dirty and be a part of the project.

The Aravani Art Project’s destination was the Budhwarpeth area in Pune, an area where about 250 odd transgender sex workers live. Aravani Art Project partnered with Arogya Seva and Pune Biennale Foundation to carry out this edition of the project. Unlike other editions of the Project, the Pune edition was one that was full of surprises and challenges. The main challenge faced by the project was in convincing the transgender women to be a part of the project. The community was concerned about being poorly represented in the media.

While after a continuous conversation with the people from the community the one thing all of them really voiced/ addressed the most is the shift in perspective. Every wall painting we do is directly the result of what the people from the community would like to voice out.

This time we wrote/ painted "DRISHTIKON BADLA" which in Marathi means "Change your perspective".

Venue: Budhwarpeth area  

Born on 6th October 1984 in Solapur, Nilesh started painting at an early age of 8. He pursued his Diploma in Fine Arts from Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Pune. His early work include realistic and figurative compositions where he made a mark in producing water colour textures and patterns. He worked on socially driven subjects like global warming, terrorism etc. through his art. He also spent few years teaching at Sai College of Art, Pune.

Nilesh painted at numerous public locations across India and abroad. Recently, he painted Kumari in Nepal, Dhanapur Railway Station in Bihar, Metro Station in New Delhi among many other large scale public art works with entities like Start India Foundation and Asian Paints. Nilesh painted the full facade of Danapur Railway Station i.e. 230' X 25' ft wall art in the memory of Indian born genius aka Father of Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry- Aryabhata. He painted this mural in his style of comic book illustrations during WALK FOR BIHAR festival.