Four young artists are giving a colourful facelift to several walls in Hyderabad, forging a fresh path for their peers in the process
Unexpectedly, the drab walls of Khairatabad, in Hyderabad, have come alive. The poster-and-paan defaced walls, near the Pension Office in Masab Tank, Lakdikapul and Film Nagar, have been replaced with bright murals, thanks to artists Santosh Buddhi, Murlikrishna Kampelli, Abdul Rahman and Fine Arts student Ganganapalli Mahesh Kumar of the art company Art Tree.
As part of its efforts towards the beautification of flyovers, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) entrusted Art Tree with a contract.
GHMC has been mounting vertical gardens and public artwork around the city, mostly depicting Telangana culture and history. Buzzing with new ideas, the young artists of Art Tree have come up with multiple works, including one that showcases the importance of education in a child’s life. “We want the wall art to highlight issues and spread social messages too,” share the artists.
‘Say no to child labour’ is written next to an image of a boy doing manual labour interspersed with images of school-going kids; A series also highlights how learning and play are an integral part of a child’s development.
Bountiful Nature with its varied elements and an aquatic-themed underwater concept art add a splash of colour on other walls. Working 12 hours a day, the team finished the project in 10 days.
If motorists travelling on Road No. 1 Banjara Hills slow down near the GVK Mall, it is mostly to gaze at a pebble sculpture. Conceived and created by Santosh along with his group, this five-feet-high sculpture is of a man kneeling, with a bird about to fly from his hand.
Santosh explains, “With thermocol as base, the structure was first created by joining iron rods and then filled with pebbles. Since we didn’t want it to look rigid, we created a sense of movement with the bird ready to take off.”
While Mahesh is pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts, the other three are alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru Fine Arts and Architecture University (JNAFAU). Santosh worked as an ambulance driver while studying arts. The four artists also hope to educate people in villages on taking up fine arts as a career.
The team decided to launch Art Tree in September 2020, at a time when most artists were struggling to make ends meet and returned to their hometown due to COVID-19.
A platform to reach out
As Santosh points out, “With the art scene yet to return to normalcy, it is tough for young artists like us to show our works in galleries. This initiative creates a platform for ourselves and also many young artists with a rural background. With no communication skills, they find it hard to approach anyone. But as a group, we can create opportunities and ensure our work is seen by a large section of people.”
A native of Madanapalle in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, Abdul Rahman’s father is a lorry worker and used to occasionally paint on his vehicle.
Abdul followed in his father’s footsteps for a while, but art piqued his interest. Asghar Ali, Abdul’s senior from JNAFAU, motivated him to study it. His father’s proud moment was seeing his son’s painting on the cover of the book Mission Kakatiya. “He was so elated that he showed the book to everyone in the village,” recollects Abdul.
Santosh and Murali from Siripur Kagaznagar are the first in their family to study Arts. “We didn’t know many things when we came to the college. We want to guide other such students from villages,” says Santosh.
Adds Mahesh, “The way a tree spreads its canopy and provides shade, we hope this endeavour will nurture and help budding artists to spread their wings to reach new horizons.”