Ukhrul: At least 80 young Tangkhul artists from across the country and beyond have come together under the banner of ‘Paint Ukhrul Project’ and are giving Ukhrul town in Manipur a beautiful new look.

Young artists from Ukhrul district are pouring out their artistic skills and painting walls across the town with street art and murals.

With an aim of evoking a sense of community through the shared appreciation of art, Sorei Keishing and Lemyao Shimray initiated this project.

They said they want to spread a message: ‘Let’s get high on colours, not on drugs’.

The team is also planning to convert the empty walls of the town into streets full of shades of different paintings and turn the hill district into a tourist hub, and a destination for art lovers.

Speaking to EastMojo, Lemyao Shimray said, “Through this paint project, we are targeting to fill the streets of Ukhrul with 1,000 paintings by 2023. After that, Kamjong and I plan to cover the whole of Manipur.”

At present, the murals are located on the walls of the Mini Secretariat, ADC new building and District Forest Divisional office.

According to Shimray, each location carries a different theme and spreads messages on social issues, environment, culture among others and empower the denizens.

“At the Mini Secretariat, the theme is identity and culture of the Tangkhul tribe. And this is not only for showcasing for other people who visit Ukhrul but also to educate our youth about our identity. We want them to feel and learn about our roots and identity through this project,” Shimray said.

Moreover, the project has also created a sense of responsibility, as the locals now hesitate to litter around those walls which have been painted, she added.

Though the initiative has been widely appreciated by both local residents and those staying outside the state, the team, as shared by Shimray, faces financial challenges since they are lacking funding.

She said, “The biggest challenge is funds to buy paint. Because per phase, we are painting around 12 to 15 slots of walls and for that, we need at least 350 litres of paint per phase.”

During each phase, around 40 artists are involved in paint the designated walls.

Shimray added that, before they start the artwork, the team has to submit the rough work based on the given theme. Accordingly, they filter it in order to bring out the best.

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