MYSURU: In the state capital, Bengaluru, railway and bus terminals being transformed into centres of art has become par for the course. At a time when both state and central government agencies are making a concerted effort to bridge the spatial gap between the two cities, it now appears as if Mysuru is keen on keeping step with the huge cultural strides that Bengaluru has made. The Mysuru City Railway Station on Friday came to life in many a different hue with artists of various strains descending on the terminal as part of the Mysuru Support and Appreciation For Art and Railways (MSAFAR)-2018 initiative undertaken by the city-based Gallery Alternative, in association with the Mysuru division of South Western Railway (SWR).
As part of the initiative, renowned artists from across the state arrived at the station, and the colours that they splashed on canvas depicted the multitudinous connections that Indian people had forged with the trains, and the railway lines that crisscross the country.
The camp was organised to promote art in public spaces, coupled with the aim of demystifying it. It was also meant to provide a platform to contemporary artists, seeking to expand the dimensions of visual art.
Greeted with trepidation by the Indians when the British Colonial masters first introduced them, trains have since shed become an invariable part of our life, both practically and culturally. The sight of a train chugging past more often than not transports one to his or her childhood, while in the kids themselves, it inspires a sense of innocent awe.
As many as 24 artists turned the whole of the Mysuru railway station into a canvas of concrete and stone, and the colours from their palate brought forth memories of train rides past.
SWR Mysuru division manager Aparna Garg said that Mysuru was the best city to hold an art camp. “This art camp is symbolic of our division’s support to art and culture,”Aparna told.
Karnataka Lalitha Kala Academy member Mohammed Aayazunddin Patel, who was one of the painters present at the station on Friday, said that he had travelled to Mysuru after two decades just to be a part of this artistic endeavor. “This first-of-its-kind arts camp has provided a platform for many artists to express their ideas about a railway journey. This experiment should not be confined just to railways, but all other departments, whether it is police or air travel, paintings must have a prominent presence in the society,” Aayazunddin Patel told.
A native of Kalaburagi, Aayazunddin Patel is the recipient of numerous honours. In what was, well and truly, a journey through time on trains, his painting depicted people drawing steam engines – those smoke-billowing relics of a simpler time – on to railway tracks. Ruing the gradual disappearance of steam engines on railway tracks, he said, “Petrol and diesel engines have resulted in steam engines being forgotten. These paintings will rekindle memories of those times.”
President of Gallery Alternative Azmi Khan told TOI that train jounryes blurred the fault lines in the society, and brought all the disparate classes together. “The rich, poor and political leaders – all of them travel by train. And I have tried to depict a bird’s eye view of a railway journey,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, K Suresh, a Mysuru resident, sought to portray the bond that develops among people along the course of a railway journey, while H Shivakumar painted children forming themselves into a train.
The art camp was inaugurated by Karnataka Lalithakala Academy chairperson MJ Kamalalakshmi. “Painting helps increase concentration more than meditation,” she said.
Head of the department of the history of art at CAVA Vijay Rao called on Railways to extend Reservation benefits to artists, along the lines of sports quota.