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Artist Rouble Nagi’s unique art initiative in Hyderabad called Misaal Hyderabad

In Misaal Hyderabad, artist Rouble Nagi uses community art as a tool for social change

On a quiet Saturday morning, residents of Babu Jagjivan Rao Nagar in Film Nagar saw the arrival of unusual visitors. The group was of Mumbai-based artist Rouble Nagi and her team of volunteers, armed with colours, rollers and loads of enthusiasm; they were set to give the area an artistic makeover. Their task was a part of Misaal Hyderabad, a social welfare initiative of Rouble Nagi Art Foundation (RNAF) and Phoenix Foundation (the CSR arm of Phoenix Group). Misaal means example, indicating the initiative leads by example.

Rouble Nagi

Rouble Nagi   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

The walls that look worn out now will soon don a splash of colour. But beautification is not the only aim at Misaal. With community art as a medium, the focus is to improve the living conditions and surroundings. “Misaal... is not only about painting walls and graffiti. We promote waste management, education, sanitation, hygiene, empower women to work even from home, and skill development among youngsters,” shares Rouble Nagi.

Art work depecting the water crisis in Mumbai

Art work depecting the water crisis in Mumbai   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

An artist and sculptor who works in more than 30 mediums, Rouble doesn’t want to be an artist who simply auctionsher art or does commissioned works. Her passion for art also involves social activism. Project Misaal originated in her hometown, Mumbai, and was born two years ago in Dharavi. The story began when Rouble went to a slum to check on her student who had shifted there. “I have lived in Mumbai for 20 years but had never seen this slum; I was overwhelmed. Misaal Mumbai was near Sea Link and most people use it to commute,” she says.

Misaal Mumbai in Worli

Misaal Mumbai in Worli   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

It was to easy connect with people through art and colours. Once Rouble and her team began beautification, residents were curious about this sudden spurt of colour. Some asked if the painting is to mask their dirty houses or for a movie or TV serial shooting. The four coloured walls brought a huge change in their mindset. She recollects, “I was colouring it because I wanted them to keep their area clean. i thought ‘Even if you live in a a slum, you have a right to have a beautiful home.’ As work progressed, many residents had tears and said, ‘You brought Diwali to us in January’.

With art as a medium, the initiative also includes workshops that focus on neighbourhoods and on how to minimise the use of plastic. The cleanliness drive in Mumbai attracted teams of doctors, lawyers and those working in the fashion and music industry who volunteered to work on weekends. The colourful and vibrant scenario from Sea Link caught the attention of celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, who tweeted about it “They didn’t know it is my work, but they tweeted about it; that is how you bring in change,” says Rouble.

Art work on walls are also inspired by different themes. For World Water Day, the team joined hands with UNICEF to talk about water crisis. Involving residents to give suggestions and feedback brings in a positive change. “We ask if there is any favourite freedom fighter, sports person or colour they want to see on their walls. We want that participation from them.”

Thanks to an Army father, Rouble travelled with her family across India, meeting different kinds of people. She says, “Being a creative person, I wanted to explore and learn and knew my art is not limited to doing commissioned works. I want to use my art to bring in change.”

Besides Mumbai, the team has worked in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and have begun work in Delhi and have plans to go to Chennai, Gujarat and Assam. Anyone can volunteer and take part in the drive. “I want people to come out of their homes, add new colours, change their lifestyle, approach and bring joy.”

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 12:45:54 AM |

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