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  Life   More Features  30 Apr 2018  Wall of fame

Wall of fame

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRIYANKA CHANDANI
Published : Apr 30, 2018, 12:40 am IST
Updated : Apr 30, 2018, 12:40 am IST

Beautiful murals themed on unity vows motorists and passersby on the Western Express Highway in Kandivali.

The one on the portrays Lord Hanuman and a mosque in a single frame.
 The one on the portrays Lord Hanuman and a mosque in a single frame.

It’s not merely galleries whose walls boast of moving and beautiful artworks. The city generously lends itself as a canvas to artists and it has benefited from the creative touch of various organisations and individuals. The latest work of public art that is dazzling passers-by is a series of colourful murals on a wall on the Western Express Highway in Kandivali (east).

The artwork is the fruit of efforts by a shopping mall, Growel’s 101, that attempted to not only beautify the wall — which it faces — but also propagate a great message, as the murals depict communal harmony and the festivals that are celebrated by citizens throughout the year.

For Growel’s 101’s head Vikas Shetty, it was a blank space that afforded an opportunity to create something unique. “This was an open wall and people were coming and posting advertisement posters, so we thought of having murals.”

It took Vikas 24 hours to plan out the project, but permission was granted after eight days. A team of five painters from the city, who were hired to place their artistic stamp on the space, took a fortnight to complete the artworks.

It was the mall’s creative team’s idea to enmesh a social message in the creative endeavour. Vikas says, “We wanted message-oriented paintings that would leave a good impact on mall visitors and passers-by therefore the idea of Indianness came about.”

The genesis of the project was when municipal authorities approached the mall owners to be a part of the beautification. “We were cribbing about this blank wall for a long time as it faces the mall and when we were approached with this option, we couldn’t turn it down.” He adds, “We were planning this for a long time but it wasn’t working out.”

Vikas and team are elated about contributing to the beautification of Mumbai. “The mall is public property and people from all walks of life come here. It is great to show them the culture and tradition of the country.”  

A regular on the route, 27-year-old Ruchika finds the murals soothing to the eyes.

“It is not just about painting the wall; I guess this will stop people using public property for their personal chores. The paintings are soothing and anyone can understand what the painters want to say. The area looks beautiful.”

Weighing in on the salience of the artworks, Dr Amit Gawande says they depict an amalgamation of the whole country in one emotional punch. “Seeing this art while passing by elevates the mood, but I doubt whether it will stay untouched. People have to be more responsible to help sustain such initiatives. Just as we don’t pee in front of pictures of God, everyone has to respect the paintings in order to make the city look vibrant and colourful.”

Tags: western express highway, growel’s 101, vikas shetty