The Bihar government has been using art in public places to spread its social messages. Last year, the Patna Municipal Corporation asked artists to paint the walls in the capital city with Madhubani paintings not just to beautify the city and make it aware of its cultural beauty but also dissuade people from spitting and dirtying public spaces. In the same light, the government has now engaged artistes of international repute to depict its success in providing electricity to every household through murals, that convey the journey from “darkness to light”. Another set of murals, commissioned under the state government’s greenery campaign titled “Jal, Jeevan aur Hariyali” (water, life and greenery), urges people to re-connect with the environment.
The inspiration for these came from a series of murals painted in Lodhi Estate in the national capital. Pratyaya Amrit, Chairman and Managing Director of Bihar State Power Holding Company (BSPHCL), told The Indian Express “While crossing through Lodhi Estate artwork, I wondered if anything on the lines of an energy-specific theme can be done in Bihar. We took three months to concretise the idea and finalised on our theme”.
Another mural shows a young boy and a young girl holding a goraiya (house sparrow) — Bihar’s state bird — in their palms. The mural titled “we are light” tells how everything in this universe is connected — from human beings to plants. The mural depicts endangered species like the Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Elephant set against the two kids, who will be the protectors of these animals in the future.
Most of the compositions have been done by Emanuel Alaniz, an Argentinian street artist based in Berlin, and Federica Maria, also an Argentinian, and Abhijith Acharya from Kerala. “Public response has been overwhelming. These paintings have become a selfie point”, said project manager Ritesh Sharma.