As the nation fights a dangerous virus which has unleashed a deadly second wave, Hyderabad-based techic Vinay Cheguri and two of his friends have decided to give the existing awareness campaigns around them a bigger push in a unique form. With an aim to fight the pandemic with an all hands on deck approach, the trio decided to use art as a means to express and spread the urgency of masking up to stay safe.
“Our idea was to ‘fight the coronavirus together.’ and also the fact that we can only overcome this unfortunate situation if everyone plays their part to stay safe. Starting from you, me, the vegetable vendor, a little girl to a policeman, this is something which connects all of us and thus we need to join hands to stay safe and hence, mask up,” Vinay tells News18, who along with his friends Uppara Sreedhar and Ram, who are full-time artists, put up a series of greyscale portraits of people, all different looking but just one thing in common- with a blue surgical mask on their faces. The huge wall arts have been painted on the walls adjacent to the toll plaza at Shamshabad, on the way to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.
“To find a way to grab everyone’s attention who are going in and out of the state was important but what was also to be ensured that drivers do not get distracted, so the toll plaza helps. They will be stopping for a few seconds and the art will create an impact as well. Also, the faces needed to put across a message of solidarity amid all the duress,” Vinay says.
The artists have also made a short video to put across the message in a few words.
Vinay and his friends have put up 8 of these portraits on the toll plaza walls, the work for which was commissioned by the Shamshabad municipality. The artists, who work collectively under the banner of DCOPS, a startup finished the project in three weeks and Vinay says they are in talks with the authorities to do more such awareness projects.
Although from an engineering background, Vinay says he was always interested in arts back in college and had even started a startup with friends back then but over time, everybody moved on with other jobs. Then in 2016, he met Sreedhar and Ram, who are Fine Arts graduates and the trio started working together on artistic projects around the state.
DCOPS was commissioned to paint government school walls in Warangal and other public spaces including a Swacch Bharat themed wall art on the CDMA Building in Hyderabad.
A look at the DCOPS’ Instagram handle would give one an idea of the kind of talent the artists possess. And as India wages a battle with the deadly virus, the message by these Hyderabad artists is the one thing that plays on our mind, “In the fight with Covid, as evil is around us, there is only one man for the job. Its YOU.”