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Mural morality

chandigarh Updated: Apr 27, 2013 09:28 IST
Swati Goel Sharma
Swati Goel Sharma
Hindustan Times

Ludhiana will soon witness a unique event, where sons of prominent industrialists of the state will learn to paint alongside kids from the streets.

Well-known muralist Rouble Nagi has organised such events before, in other states, where celebrity kids of filmy backgrounds mix with their lesser-privileged counterparts. In Punjab, she wants to extend the idea to wealthy business families, hoping the event would sensitise them towards the cause of street children.

It is for this reason that Rouble paid a quick visit to Ludhiana early this week for her “ground research” for the project. Through friends and acquaintances, Rouble hopes to reach out to the not-so-fortunate kids in Punjab, residing in slums, studying in humble schools or earning a living at a tender age.

Her idea goes beyond giving the rich a taste of penury. Rouble will pick the talented street kids – ones who will show dexterity in art – and offer them free art classes to hone their skills. According to her, this will open for them a world of opportunities in art, and may help them make a career out of it.

How? She explains, “Through volunteers and non-government organisations, I prepare the kids for the competitive world of art. Many of my students have made it to top art institutes, and are now professional artists.”

She offers a few examples. “A kid, Mayur, who I picked up from a slum is studying at Mumbai’s LS Raheja School of Art. A kid I spotted in Lucknow, who has lost both his arms, too, got admission in a prestigious art college,” she says.

Rouble, who is credited with over 800 murals and an array of celebrity clients, says it was her dream to see kids empowered through education that made her shift her creative energies from creating murals for money to exploit art for a social cause. Her social projects, she says, bring her immense satisfaction.

Mumbai-based Rouble, whose art events often see a host of Bollywood celebrities gather for support, has executed similar projects in Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat. Sharing her choice of Punjab this time, she owes it to her Punjabi background. “I am a Sikh and have lived a major part of my childhood in Punjab when my father, an ex-army officer, was posted here. Punjab will always be special for me. I hope to bring a change here, however small,” she says.