Artists from the Sir JJ School of Art are disappointed with the Railways for turning a blind eye to commuters who have spat on murals they painstakingly created across Mumbai stations as part of the Hamara Station, Hamari Shaan campaign. They have refused to be part of the second leg of the project, said a report in this newspaper yesterday.
In September 2016, a large number of artists, school and college students, citizens, and non-profits had participated in this initiative to give our Railway stations a much-needed aesthetic makeover. It was a local spin-off of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Railway stations were cleaned, after which artists painted their walls, giving these hubs class and creativity. Commuters, though, continue to deface and defile attempts to turn Mumbai into a city for public art. The station walls are now covered in paan stains, showing how little respect people have for these painstakingly created paintings.
While the Railways needs to keep a wary eye out for those defacing this work and impose stringent fines for spitting, in the end, it is the people who need to listen to their conscience. The railway authorities may be stretched thin, given the mammoth crowds at these stations. This is not to say that cleanliness or preserving the recent works is secondary. It does though put the onus on commuters themselves. It is a shame that people cannot appreciate or respect what is done for them.
Today, the city is moving towards a definite thrust on public art. One needs to appreciate the goodwill and massive efforts going on to clean up the city and rid walls of their grime. There has to be an attitude of being a stakeholder in the initiative, and even if just as a bystander. If you have not sacrificed your time and given your talent to the city, at least do not disrespect the infrastructure.