Each year, volunteer artists from Japan travel to one of the poorest regions of India to share their talents with schoolchildren at the Niranjaya Public Welfare School. They join local artists at the annual Wall Art Festival to collaborate with the students on amazing works of temporary art in their school.

With the help of donations (mainly from Japan, Australia and New Zealand) the building that houses the Niranjaya Public Welfare School was constructed in 2007. Here, any student can receive a free education (including study materials), regardless of gender, caste or religion. This is especially important in Bihar, which has the lowest literacy rate in India: only 47 percent. About 85 percent of the population lives in villages like Sujata, in which the school is located.


With uniforms, computers and textbooks to buy and 12 full time teachers’ salaries to pay, the initial donations were not enough to continue on—they needed a way to guarantee funds for the school. Part fundraising strategy, part educational enrichment, the Wall Art Festival was born. Each year volunteer artists from Japan are selected to visit the school and, along with local artists, lead the children in a school-wide art project. The white walls inside and out are transformed into works of art that are complex, expressive and wrap themselves around the figures and dreams of the students within.

Japanese artist Yusuke Asai has participated in the festival for three years and brings a unique approach to the project. Rather than buying paints, he led students to collect various kinds of soil from the village to use as paint. You might think it would make for a bland painting, but you would be wrong.


The intricate designs he meticulously daubed onto the walls cover even the ceiling and the bookshelves at the back of the room. He took traditional Indian art as his inspiration, so his mural is reminiscent of intricate henna patterns. The figures break out of their borders, stretching limbs out and over the heads of the occupants.


They added straw to the floor, softening the atmosphere.


There is so much detail here that you could stay for hours admiring each piece of the magnificent puzzle.


Not every artist stuck to such meditative aesthetics. Mythological figures explode out onto this wall on waves of blue.


Another artist changed the very shape of the room, covering every surface in designs and symbols that look like they could be ancient etchings or alien language.


Some pieces recall textile patterns…



…and some recall childhood storybooks and puppet shows.



Some pieces were modern and simple…


…but the impact is undeniable. This child looks as if he’s about to be sucked into a vortex!


Realistic depictions of places the children may never see are brought right to their classrooms…


…alongside dream-like landscapes imagined in serene colors.


Monochromatic paintings with simple elements tell stories…


…while the figures dance around the students.


The school’s facade is also transformed for the event.


Even this elephant’s skin became a canvas!


Above all, this is an incredible coming-together of people. Across divides of class, culture and language, people gave of themselves and created a wonderful experience together. Undoubtedly, the participants walk away with an appreciation for art and education, but also for the good that exists in others.


It looks like an incredible experience for hosts and visitors alike.

Once the festival is over, the murals are all removed and the walls are returned to their original white. The excitement is over for now, but the donations delivered to the school fund another year of lessons and the experience lives on in the minds of all who participated.

Sources: Amusing PlanetNiranjaya Public Welfare Trust
Images: Wall Art Festival