US Consulate Arts Envoy Program – India

3D Exhibitions & Workshops

Vishakhapatnam / Hyderabad, India

I never tire of the wonderful opportunities I have received over the years from the US State Department to travel the world teaching what I do to young people. Street painting is a universal language that dissolves differences, sees no boundaries and includes all. A perfect formula for providing successful cultural exchange initiatives to those served by US Consulates worldwide.

My latest teaching commission came from Telangana, India via the US Embassy Hyderabad. I was asked to travel to both Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam (also known simply as Vizag, which is in the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh) to conduct a series of 3d street painting workshops to students, as well as creating two exhibition works that centered on two hot global topics: gender violence and climate change.

The US Consulate Hyderabad is serious about addressing global issues that impact those living in the immediate area and region beyond. Providing programs designed to heighten awareness of social challenges, the US Consulate chose 3d street painting to send these messages out to the public.

My colleague Sharyn Chan and I traveled to Vizag first, where we presented a work at the CMR Mall with local NGO The Ken Foundation.  Head of the Ken Foundation, Mr. Santosh Pulletykurty provided us with a team comprised of volunteers and local artists who were given training on 3d street painting at our workshops. The street painting was a huge hit with mall goers and we had a blast! Local media helped spread the word about our piece and climate change in India, which currently effects millions of people annually.

Our second exhibition work was presented at the Prasads IMAX Mall in Hyderabad, highlighting gender violence, which is a less acknowledged yet still challenging issue for women in India. US Embassy officer Gabriel Hons-Olivier was on hand to educate the public regarding creative and powerful initiatives the US Consulate has embarked on in the region to combat gender violence, specifically targeting human trafficking of young women in India. Our painting depicted a young Indian woman holding a damaged doll – symbolic of the effects of gender violence on women everywhere.

It was our sincere pleasure to present these socially conscious themes in India. Street painting again proved to be the ‘tie that binds’ so many people together through tough and thoughtful issues. It’s always good to see this art form being appreciated for it’s ability to make those connections, which is a sincere honor for me. Thanks to Salil Kader and Senthil Thirupathi as well as the entire US Consulate Hyderabad for their generous support and care.