Gandhi’s mural by Brazilian artist adorns Churchgate station building

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Mumbai, Nov 14: A gigantic multicoloured mural, depicting Mahatma Gandhi alighting from a train at a railway station in the 1940s, went on display at the iconic Churchgate station building, earning praise from millions of daily Western Railway commuters.

The permanent mural, sponsored by Asian Paints Ltd as part of its CSR activities, has been painted by renowned Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team of 52 associates and technicians over 18 days. It was completed last Friday.

It is an adaption of a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi at the railway station in the early 1940s clicked by Kulwant Roy which is now owned by Aditya Arya Archive and India Photo Archive, said Western Railway (WR) spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar.

The mural stands an imposing 81 feet tall and 54 feet wide, showing Mahatma Gandhi preparing to deboard a train that has just chugged in at a railway station sometime in the 1940s at the height of the Indian freedom struggle when the railways and its stations played an important role in spreading word of the independence movement.

“The mural aims to use the power of public art to create a dialogue and join people under a positive message of peace. WR’s Mumbai Division accorded the proposal of Asian Paints in collaboration with St+Art India Foundation for beautification of exterior facade of the Churchgate station, which is also the headquarters of WR,” said Bhakar.

The mural weaves together one of the most iconic leaders of India’s freedom movement who is also revered around the world as the “Apostle of Peace” on the facade of one of Mumbai’s oldest railway stations.

The commuting millions using the station daily get a glimpse of the marvelous creations of quirky, colourful murals and graffiti and the artwork commands attention to the painting on the wall, he added.

Kobra, known worldwide for his photorealistic portraits, rich in colour and geometric kaleidoscopic shapes, pays tributes to historical leaders in the name of peace, thereby creating memorable landmarks in different cities globally since the past decade.

Recognised as a master in creating landmarks thanks to his impeccable technique and power of images, he frames images which are symbols of a country for its citizens and the rest of the world.

Among Kobra’s most celebrated pieces of gigantic artwork include the portraits of Oscar Niemeyer in Sao Paolo, Albert Einstein and Mother Teresa in Los Angeles, “Kiss” in Times Square, New York.

Along with his team, he created the Guinness World Record for the largest spray painted mural “Etnias” for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Kobra, two associates and a technical team of 50, spent 18 days till November 10 to transform Churchgate station building, a landmark for the city, and through the mural, elevating it to an iconic site of art for the world.