Travel as you treat your eyes

Travel as you treat your eyes

Art station

Waiting for your train at a metro station? Stop and look around. You will find that the walls of the station and sometimes even the ceilings are adorned with beautiful murals and paintings. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is installing artwork at almost all of its stations for commuters to enjoy their journey.

It doesn’t matter which station you board your train from or which line you are taking. They are everywhere. On line 1 (Dilshad Garden-Rithala), you can see the walls of the Shastri Park metro station beautifully painted with peacocks and right outside the Rithala metro station, you will find floral murals.

The Barakhamba Road metro station, on the other hand has long been famous for its hand painted tiles depicting metro architects at work.

The most impressive artwork, however, are spread over the Central Secretariat-
Bardarpur line. The Central Secretariat station has a life-size tile painting of two rural women bearing pots, while the Jawaharlal Nehru metro station is known for its sports related murals. Recently, the Kailash Colony station has been adorned with several digital printings. The station actually looks like an art gallery.

The DMRC, however, insists that the effort is more towards providing a visual relief to commuters than turning metro stations into art stations.

The chief architect of DMRC Tripta Khurana says, “We definitely don’t go for Souzas or Picassos. The artwork are for the common man, not aimed at the elite or art experts. After all, the daily commuter can’t have much time to sit and comprehend a difficult painting.”

She adds that the idea behind these artwork is to make the station blend in with the surroundings. “It gives the station an identity and the daily commuter is able to relate with all that is depicted. For example, we had themes like water, environment, traffic congestion in Delhi and the nine rasas of life while beautifying the line 1 metro stations. The artwork at the Jawaharlal Nehru metro station were, of course, keeping in mind the nearby sports stadium.”

Interestingly, the beautiful artwork have all been done by students from various colleges. The DMRC roped in students of the Delhi College of Arts, Women’s Polytechnic and Chandigarh College of Arts for the beautification of stations on line 1. Students from Jaipur College of Arts worked on line 3, while Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) was also involved in beautifying some stations.

Tripta informs, “It works both ways. According to Government guidelines, we are allowed to spend only one per cent of our budget on artwork. So we can’t buy expensive paintings or hire experts. Also, sometimes we require enormous size custom fit artwork.

These can’t be bought from the market. On the other hand, these students also get to work on a big project and earn a handsome stipend.”

Tripta recommends a visit to the INA metro station on the HUDA City Centre line.
She informs, “It is lined with traditional paintings and regional handicrafts keeping in mind the nearby Dilli Haat. All of these were contributed by the Ministry of Textile and the Cottage Industry. Commuters must stop by at this station sometime. It is a visual treat and a great learning experience.”