Of late, there has been a great deal of concern over the number of dead rain trees in the city. Experts have spoken about how contractors are trimming trees in the wrong way, increasing the chances of them keeling over. Already, there have been a couple of tragedies, with people grievously injured because of falling trees. In some cases, lives have been lost. This is a problem that civic authorities must address with more urgency and gravity, given that accidents have to be investigated and prevented, and the city needs to preserve whatever little green cover it has.
The one good thing though, if we look at the brighter side of this unfortunate phenomenon, is that tree art has started to become visible in Mumbai. Dead trees are being painted and preserved by amateur artists, giving our roads a smattering of aesthetic appeal.
It is a trend that needs to be encouraged and streamlined too. A corporation perhaps can take up a certain section of road or wall and seek to beautify it, with artistic help. Here, it must be said that not all good intentions lead to great art. Groups of do-gooders must be guided by an art teacher or an expert to transform walls or dead trees into artistic creations.
This is also one way to demystify art and bring it into the public space. Often, art is seen as niche, inaccessible, tucked away into galleries that not everybody can afford to buy and may be intimidated to visit. While
of course, compared to the wall art, those paintings in galleries may be by very established artists, art is art all the same.
Let us make our public infrastructure available for art. Walls, dead trees, bus stops, stations, there have been sporadic attempts at beautifying these, but a more structured approach will help. Mumbai needs art to liven up dull, grimy surfaces; its commuting hubs will benefit from colour and dead trees can be brought to life through the paintbrush and easel. A consistent and creative effort to make Mumbai’s infrastructure appealing has multi-pronged benefits, like the increased involvement of the public in civic life, and a better looking Mumbai.