Sunday, Jan 21, 2018 | Last Update : 10:31 AM IST
The paintings follow five themes — open education, girl child education, stopping modern slavery, sports education and Swachh Bharat.
Once an architectural wonder, Mumbai has sprawled out to form the biggest city in all of India — a concrete jungle that stretches to the horizons. To bring more colour into Mumbai, City as a Canvas, a group of artistes and volunteers are looking to beautify the city by creating murals on walls in public spaces.
The group, led by two volunteering platforms — Daanusav and Ivolunteer — started painting on October 2, and have already covered walls in different locations around the city, with each painting based on themes of education, anti-child labour and other awareness-based messages. Now, the number of volunteers has gone up to over 1,000, and on Monday, even the Mumbai police got into the act, and lent the group a hand.
Gaurav Gupta, who has been a part of the initiative since its inception and is a part of the core team, confesses that the response has been truly overwhelming. “We did a couple of pilot projects to check out how it would go if we were to start to paint different parts of the city in January. We thought it was time to try it out large scale. Still, the response so far has been greater than we expected. We have over 1,000 people and have already managed to paint around 400 walls. The target is to complete 1,000 walls by October 8 and it looks like we’ll do it,” he gushes.
The paintings follow five themes — open education, girl child education, stopping modern slavery, sports education and Swachh Bharat. “On some of the walls, we have painted letters, numbers, shapes and so on, so that kids can learn just by looking at them. Some of the other walls convey messages like stopping child labour and enforcing women’s rights, both of which would go a long way towards eradicating modern slavery, of which India is one of the highest exponents. Since we had a number of police officers also helping us out, some of the walls have basic traffic rules as themes,” the marketing manager explains.
Though they have already covered 13 different locations in the city, including large portions of Andheri, Churchgate and Ghatkopar, the team wants to expand the project further. “The initial plan was to paint from October 1 to 8. However, now we are planning to paint through the month, since there are some areas like Malad and Kandivali which have been left out in this initial drive,” Gaurav states.
Though painting is the primary goal of the project, the group has also planned donation walls, where people can leave books, toys or anything else they may want to donate. “These are simply whitewashed walls with shelves on them. People can keep whatever they want to donate on the shelves. This way, suppose someone finds a book on a shelf and wants to read it, he can just pick it up, read and return it, or even replace it with another book,” smiles Gaurav.
Ever the willing volunteer, Gaurav wants to venture into other projects as well. “One of the other members of the core team and I are thinking of starting a new venture called Wishing Tree. We will be working with kids coming from economically backwards sections and getting them the things that they wish for, with a little help from corporates,” explains Gaurav, adding, “Though I am a marketing manager by profession, I would like to get into volunteering more. Painting the city was the first step and I am really enjoying it so far.”