Near Sikanderpur Metro station in Gurgaon is a red brick wall covered with colourful paintings — of a mother trying to save her child from the engulfing flames of society, a girl with a book and the first Indian woman in space, Kalpana Chawla, next to a space shuttle. The wall is the starting point for Gurgaon’s first largescale public art projects, which aims to infuse vibrancy and colour into the “concrete jungle”.
Part of a week-long campaign to make the city’s surroundings more presentable, the Gurgaon Artistes’ Fest is an endeavour by the Gurgaon Action Plan (GAP) to add a cultural spirit to MG Road. It is being supported by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon.
As a team of three artists lend finishing touches to their paintings, rickshaw pullers, autorickshaw drivers, security guards and labourers stop to look at perhaps their first stint with public art.
Gauri Sarin, convener of GAP and founder of the fest, says, “GAP encourages citizens to work on issues in urban governance. We realised that without art and culture, a city’s growth is incomplete. Hence, we conceived a week-long campaign to bring the artist community in Gurgaon together to contribute and make the city beautiful and culturally vibrant.”
She added, “The reason we chose MG Road is because it is a signature street for anyone who passes this city and it represents Gurgaon in a way. If we can transform this space, it will inspire work on other streets.”
Ranging from famous names and upcoming artists from Gurgaon, over a 100 artists are a part of the festival and will be painting 11 installations on both sides of MG Road.
Students from neighbouring schools such as Blue Bells Model School and DPS Gurgaon have also been roped in. Divided into teams, each group has been given a theme to paint and are being mentored by renowned artists such as Shobha Broota, Jagannath Panda and Veer Munshi.
Artist Ambbalsi Dutta, who has worked on the saving girl child mural, says, “Gurgaon lacked a soul, which is very much present in cities such as Delhi and Kolkata. To add this soul, creativity is the best form.” The artists will work on their projects from March 1 till 5.