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Chennai artist creates coronavirus-inspired helmet for cops urging people to stay home

A police official wearing a helmet made to look like the COVID-19 was seen interacting with people in Chennai and warned violators of the national lockdown what could happen to them if they contracted the virus.

Written by Shreya Das | New Delhi |
Updated: March 28, 2020 7:48:48 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus india, coronavirus police awareness initiative, chennai police coronavirus helmet, corona helmet chennai artist, chennai news, tamil nadu news, chennai coronavirus update, indian express, The artist created the artwork using an old helmet as he strongly believes in recycling plastic wastes. (Source: Art Kingdom/ Facebook)

A Chennai-based artist is helping the city’s police force tasked with enforcing a 21-day national lockdown raise awareness about the COVID-19 virus and the dangers it poses. B Gowtham’s coronavirus-inspired helmet for the personnel manning a checkpoint in Chennai received national fame after a news agency reported about it.

The helmet is inspired by the shape of the virus and Gowtham said it was his way of contributing to the police force, who have been working day and night to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“I have been observing how people have been flouting lockdown orders, not taking proper measures while stepping out. Even though the city is currently under Section 144, people are casually going out not understanding the gravity of the situation,”  he said in a telephonic interview from Chennai.

“So, I thought it would be helpful in a way to show them coronavirus could come to them,” he said.

The initiative comes at a time when coronavirus cases in India nears 900 and has claimed 19 lives. In Tamil Nadu, 40 people have tested positive for the virus and there has been one casualty.

 

Gowtham, who is a resident of Villivakkam in Chennai and runs a firm called Art Kingdom, went to his local police station Tuesday after the prime minister announced the lockdown.

The artist said he shared his idea of making the virus-inspired helmet to raise awareness about the virus and officials there agreed. In a day, he had developed the helmet using recycled plastic structures that were stuck on a helmet.

“I believe in recycling plastic waste, so this too was made with an old helmet lying around with minimum resources,” he said.

After developing the helmet, he accompanied a local police official wearing the virus-inspired helmet as he walked through markets to a local checkpost.

“As of now, there is just one helmet with which we are raising awareness but I’m glad the message is reaching beyond this specific area,” he said.

This is not the first coronavirus-inspired artwork he has come up with for the police. Earlier this week, he also made some placards to be put at pickets to raise awareness about the virus.

Although police forces across the country have come in for criticism over their enforcement of the lockdown using force, Gowtham said the local police were politely seeking people’s cooperation.

The artist said he planned to make more coronavirus-related art  in the coming days, he hopes people start taking home quarantine and social distancing seriously.

Gowtham’s earlier creations have also brought him a fair amount of fame. In 2019 he created a 23-foot long killer whale using 45,000 bottle caps to raise awareness about the dumping of plastics in water bodies.

“I believe in art and its power to reach a wider audience, passing important message easily, and this project was no different from any of my previous projects,” he said.

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