MUMBAI: There’s van Gogh and a Monet, Harry Potter and even Mumbai’s famous six sigma dabbawalas – all sharing the same space. And it’s not in a museum but on Mumbai’s railway stations. The canvas has come alive through volunteers, young and old, artists and school children alike.
As many as 36 stations on both the central and western lines were shortlisted for a make-over as a part of the ‘Humaara Station Humaari Shaan’ campaign of the railways, supported by NGOs Bombay First and Making a Difference. And all of this transformation has happened in just one week during the Dan Utsav or Give India week, with citizens volunteering their time to paint the stations. Money was collected either through sponsorships or individual contributions.
The result is that Mumbai has witnessed a vibrant change, one station at a time.
Artist Snehal Patil, who runs The Bombay Drawing Room and has painted both the van Gogh inspired Starry, Starry Night and Monet’s Water Lilies says, “I’m very happy that I can push classics into an informal space like this. This is actually making art a part of everyone’s daily lives. You see people moving around and there’s art in the background.”
Artist Poorvi Gandhi said, “Some people came up to say why are you painting this. It will become dirty again…I said you keep dirtying it, we will keep cleaning. We have to start contributing to keeping our surroundings clean.”
Viren Shah who has been co-ordinating all the logistics for Santacruz station is beaming with pride. “It’s like an art gallery coming to Santacruz station. Everyone has created a masterpiece and it’s excellent.”
For school students from RN Podar who volunteered their time through school, Devika Kangokar is thrilled with the compliments. “Everyone is stopping and giving us compliments saying it’s very nice.”
Classmates Hridya Sharma and Spoorthi C Bhoji say, “the best part is that the memory is going to stay with us, forever,” and Spoorthi adds, “and with the station.”