Early on Sunday morning, while most people love to catch up on that extra sleep, a group of nearly 320 people gathered behind the wall of Platform No. 6 at Pune Railway Station, opposite the Divisional Office of Central Railways.
The crowd, divided in 26 groups, got busy with paint and brushes, and by evening, the 5,000-sqft wall was transformed, covered with colorful graffiti and images in a strikingly vibrant palette.
The initiative was taken up by a group named Vanarsena, which includes eight members from different walks of life, all graduates in fine arts. The event was inaugurated by DRM Central Railway BK Dadabhoy, and Hemant Jalan, MD, Indigo paints, sponsors of the event, in the presence of the Commissioner of Pune Kunal Kumar.
Each group was guided by an expert artist.
“We were very happy to partner with Railways in this very challenging task. Getting people to join hands and help with the artwork has been the most crucial achievement. Public participation has helped in imbibing a sense of ownership for the work,” said founder member Prasad Bhardwaja.
The Vanarsena members are all pursuing various careers in the corporate sector. Bhardwaja said in October 2015, they came together\ to satisfy their creative needs in a way that they could also make a difference to the society, and Vanarsena was born.
Vanarsena executes its artistic mission by creating quirky and symbolic street art using a vibrant palette, typically on blemished and dirtied walls. Swapnil Kumawat, another member, said, “After we got a go-ahead from the Pune Railway division for this project, the challenge was to arrange paint and painting material. Such a big wall required around 300 litres of paint. That’s when Indigo Paints came forward to sponsor the paint and equipment. Then we contacted artists who could do the primary sketching and guide the participants.”
The wall was divided into 26 sections. The designs on each focus on a different facet of Pune city – its monuments, people, history and culture, lifestyle and its transition towards a Smart City, said Kumawat. “Pune is known for its I-T culture, theatre, links to the Peshwa period of history, Ganeshotsav, IUCAA, sports, etc., and these things that define the city have been covered in these 26 themes,” he added.
Other than Kumawat and Bhardwaja, Vanarsena members include Prajakta Samant, Swati Gavde, Prasad Bhardwaja, Amruta Jamkhedkar, Minal Jamkhedkar, Satvashil Jagtap Saumen Das, who all are working professionals in various corporate entities but come together on weekends to indulge in their common passion — painting.