September 2, 2014

Medina
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Art project at community center stresses Medina’s unity

MEDINA — Former city resident and artist Piyali Banerjie was inspired two weeks ago to bring her talents to Medina.

From the United States to India, Banerjie’s work has graced the sides of buildings and other structures. The New York City resident most recently spent three months in New Orleans appreciating folk art displayed across the city’s buildings and while there thought, “Why don’t I go back to Medina,” she said.

Artist and former Medina resident Piyali Banerjie creates a mural Tuesday at the Medina Community Recreation Center. The 26-year-old began painting Monday and expected to finish Tuesday night. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

Artist and former Medina resident Piyali Banerjie creates a mural Tuesday at the Medina Community Recreation Center. The 26-year-old began painting Monday and expected to finish Tuesday night. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

The 26-year-old sent out emails inquiring about her hometown and the opportunity to do what she loves best for the community. Medina welcomed her back with open arms and a paint brush, and it all came together, she said Tuesday afternoon.

“Medina emphasizes unity in the community and what better way to illustrate it,” Banerjie said while gesturing toward her latest project.

Banerjie started painting her mural Monday at the Medina Community Recreation Center just above and directly behind the front desk.

“I had my pick of walls, but I liked this one the best because it’s not just for the rec center members, but for anyone who walks through the door. It’s for the entire community,” Banerjie said. “I want to illustrate what Medina really is, while incorporating the members, too. I asked the youth of the community what makes them happy here in Medina, here in Ohio, and they said the parks, the flowers, the sun and even the rainy days. I am going to incorporate all of that.”

In her mural, Banerjie will include a gazebo like the one in Public Square. She expected to finish last night.

The artist starts with an illustration in pencil, which only can be seen from a few feet away, and then lays a base coat and adds color for dimension and texture.

“I wasn’t used to seeing art on the walls here in Medina; but after moving to New York City, I became so involved with the scene and with local artists,” she said. “Everyone has art and music in common, so bringing something together for the community seemed like a great idea. It’s great to be home … this will always be home to me.”

Banerjie said she is hoping Mayor Dennis Hanwell will name the mural, which she painted for free.

Banerjie said she will head back to New York, where she is working on getting her master’s degree in policy analysis and urban development, following her visit with her parents in Medina.
She said she also has work lined up in Brazil and in the Kashmir and Israel, where she will paint peace murals.

For more on Banerjie’s work, visit www.oceaninthe drop.com.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or dorr@medina-gazette.com.