Livening up public spaces across India with mural art

Artwork done by the company of Ritesh and Prateek at one of the metro stations in Delhi.

Artwork done by the company of Ritesh and Prateek at one of the metro stations in Delhi.  

At a time when job cuts are becoming commonplace with businesses taking a hit from COVID-19, the story of two IIT-Delhi graduates — batchmates and best friends — who did not even sit for placements so that they could chart their own course can be inspiring.

Chemical engineers by qualification, Ritesh Verma (24) and Prateek Sachan (25) are spreading cheer through wall art by painting murals in public places that include metro stations. In the short time since they graduated, the pair, under the banner of ‘The New Art’, has livened up several metro stations in New Delhi and Kolkata and are now hoping to land similar projects in Chennai.

Artistic potential

“We are a team of artists and designers and ever since we got into the business in January 2018, we have done over 300 artworks all over India. Even though the mural is an ancient concept, the scene has picked up quite well in India in the last four to five years because of the Swachh Bharat campaign. It has been a great journey so far, and this is just the beginning,” Mr. Verma told The Hindu.

The duo graduated in 2017 and immediately after that did a project for the Swami Vivekananda Hostel in Satna (Madhya Pradesh). “We delivered various services to the hostel but what stood out was a couple of murals we did in their hall. That was when we realised there was potential in wall art and decided to take it up full time,” he said.

Mr. Sachan said: “We always had a lot of fun delivering various projects, but now the fun is coupled with a sense of purpose. That has doubled the motivation level. The fact that our artworks are seen by thousands of people each day makes the whole thing even more exciting.”

Artwork at Salt Lake Sector 5 station in Kolkata.

Artwork at Salt Lake Sector 5 station in Kolkata.  

Art on the metro

For the two youngsters, a project for the Delhi Metro was a breakthrough. “We did artworks on the Magenta Line stations, and that was our first official project. So far, we have done around 64 artworks across 22 metro stations in Delhi,” Mr. Verma said.

And almost a year after they got started in Delhi, they got in touch with the Kolkata Metro. “A new corridor was coming up, and we got an opportunity to work in this beautiful city. We did 13 artworks at five metro stations. We did different themes for different stations: dance and music at Sector 5, art forms at Salt Lake Stadium, festivities at Bengal Chemicals, ghat life at City Centre and street life at Karunamoyee,” Mr. Verma said.

Prateek Sachan (left) and Ritesh.

Prateek Sachan (left) and Ritesh.  

Lockdown low

A couple of “really good” projects were lined up for them when the lockdown was imposed. “It halted everything and our company took a hit. But soon we realised we can’t let the time pass just like that. We started contacting interior design companies for future collaboration. But with the lockdown opening now, we will be resuming our projects in some of the metro stations in Delhi,” said Mr. Sachan.

Mr. Verma added: “Our business has been B2B so far. Next year, we plan to start the B2C vertical as well. We believe that wall art would do wonders in the interior walls of residential spaces. We are very excited about it. Our vision is to make India even more colourful than it is.”

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:08:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/livening-up-public-spaces-across-india-with-mural-art/article31738921.ece

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