The mega mural movement: how Indias rundown railway stations have been transformed

Many Indian stations are a microcosm of the squalor that afflicts the urban landscape. But all that is changing, in an explosion of birds, tigers and Buddhist statues

Andheri station

In India, 23 million people travel on the railways every day, and the stations are full of life. The poorer passengers dont just pass through the stations they sleep in them, cook meals on kerosene stoves, eat and wash on the platforms as they wait for unconscionably delayed trains. As a result, many Indian stations have become a microcosm of the squalor that afflicts much of the urban landscape.

But all that is changing. There are now 80 stations (and some metro stations) across India where every inch throbs with colour and imagery. Indians who would normally never enter an art gallery now encounter new art by local artists or traditional art forms that had been threatened with extinction on a daily basis.

Recommended For You

Repwarn Resellers Account

Repwarn Keyword monitoring will scour the internet and social media - alerting you to any incidence of your keywords being triggered


Reseller Privileges to 500 Accounts of Clickopia. Notice - You must have purchased Clickopia prior to purchasing this reseller offer.

Bharatpur train station near the bird sanctuary. Photograph: Abhishek Bhatnagar/WWF india

The movement began in 2014, when conservationist and tiger expert Valmik Thapar wondered why Sawai Madhopur station, which is close to Ranthambore national park, home of the tiger, couldnt be decorated with tigers. Why couldnt people visiting Bharatpur bird sanctuary get off the train to be greeted with murals of birds? Why couldnt the station at Bhubaneshwar, known for its crocodiles and Buddhist statues, reflect this heritage?

Thapar contacted railway officials and, with the help of the World Wildlife Fund, the stations began to change. Tiger eyes now follow you through Sawai Madhopur station. With a few brushstrokes, a decrepit dump has become an open air, public art museum.

Bharatpur train station. Photograph: Abhishek Bhatnagar/WWF india

Recommended For You

Viral Marketing 2.0 Success Kit Upsell

Get this Up-to-date "Viral Marketing 2.0 Success Kit PLR" with PLR Rights and start cashing in huge by selling it as your own.

NinjaShoppe Elite

The MOST POWERFUL App on Planet That Builds a Fully Functional Affiliate Shoppe in 60 Seconds Flat That Gets You Products from Top E-com Giants, Unique Content, Video Reviews, TRAFFIC and COMMISSIONS, All Hands FREE…

Ive been visiting Ranthambore for 30 years. The gorgeous artwork is the best thing thats happened to the town, says Hema Maira, a retired teacher from New Delhi who frequently travels to see the tigers. The pictures capture the essence of the park and its most famous denizens.

The railways project is part of a wider street-art revolution instigated, in 2014, by a Mumbai group called St+art India Foundation that has transformed the old Sassoon Docks in Mumbai and the Lodhi Colony neighbourhood in New Delhi into the countrys first public art district. (Brigitte Macron, wife of the French president, made a point of touring it during a visit in March.)

Andheri station in Mumbai. Photograph: NGO Mumbai First

What we have been attempting to achieve is a freedom meant not just for the artists, who stand to gain a wider canvas, but also for those who would be able to appreciate art they might never have had access to otherwise, says St+art co-founder and creative director Hanif Kureshi.

Ordinary people are often shocked by the size and scale of the murals, which include a massive image of Mahatma Gandhi on the facade of Churchgate station in Mumbai. They think its an ad and some fool forgot to put the company logo on it, says Kureshi.

Mumbai has one of the densest suburban networks in the world, with more than 7 million daily passengers, and 36 stations in the city have been given a makeover. In October, two NGOs, Mumbai First and Making a Difference, roped in 25,000 volunteers and artists from art schools to paint for seven days, with materials provided by paint companies.

Recommended For You

WP GDPR Fix Pro Unltd Sites

The GDPR Pro version provides you with enhanced protection. This version comes with a a GDPR ready privacy policy made by a consulting expert. All you have to do is just grab it and put it on your blog. Also get A GDPR compliant default Terms and Conditions

TigerPress Previous Volumes Second Chance 8

Premium one of a kind wordpress themes that do all the onpage seo for you including image seo, with TigerPress themes you can also generate an unlimited amount of geo targeted landing pages in any language.

Arjan Garh metro in Gurgaon.

Rajiv Choudhury, Indian Railways station development director, says that about 80 of the countrys 3,000 or more stations have now been spruced up in this fashion. It is up to the local communities around the remaining ones to paint those too if they wish.

And across India, dying art forms have been revived. A technique known as phad paintings on cloth depicting stories of local deities, with every inch densely covered is all over Jodhpur station. Udaipur City station has revived images from the Mewar School of Art, an important school of miniature painting in the 17th and 18th centuries. Jaipur station has been painted with Jogi art, a tribal form that uses dots and lines. Ajmer showcases the calligraphy for which the citys craftsmen are famous. At Madhubani railway station in Bihar (which used to be one of the dirtiest in India), tourists go to see the traditional Mithila scenes from mythological texts and folklore that now cover almost every inch of the building. As the craze spreads, local artists are now getting work from the owners of cafes and offices who feel that one brightly painted wall might be just what they need.

Sawai Madhopur railway station. Photograph: Arsh Marwaha/WWF India

In fact, an unexpected result of the project is that the painted walls have drastically reduced the amount of littering and spitting. People are reluctant to damage something nice, says Choudhury.

Veena Joshi, a marketing executive in Mumbai who travels by rail to work every day, said that Indians are starved of nice surroundings; 60% of Mumbais population, for example, lives in slums. The moment I see the colours at Khar, it lifts my mood, she says. Its a small thing, but with big impact.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

And ... Don't forget to have fun!

Recommended Products

LiteApp Studio [Monthly]

NEW AI Software AUTOMATICALLY Creates Amazing Mobile Apps from ANY Website URL In Minutes, Works on All Browsers AND Can Be Instantly Downloaded and Shared Through Social Media, Text, Email and Q Code, Without Need for Any Android or IOS App Stores …No

Uduala DFY 100+ eMail Templates

Get 100+ Proven-to-Convert, Professionally Written Email Templates, Specifically Designed To Generate MAXIMUM Passive Ecom Sales. You will get promo emails, email swipes for every situation (new customer followup, discount, important holidays, etc). You w

Vid Siphon FE- Premium Edition

The Ultimate Video Creation and Editing Cloud based app, that allows you to create videos for your ads in a minute, Edit your videos by adding text, image, intro/outro, quizzes and Surveys , CTAs into Videos

Leave a Reply