Ever thought painting could be used as a means for social change? This student-led-initiative is all about using art as an effective medium for raising awareness.
Project MAD, an acronym for Murals and Doodles, is a student-run social initiative that aims to beautify and brighten Mumbai’s walls by painting them artistically.
In the process of revamping these walls, the young volunteers of Project MAD are also making art accessible to the public and creating awareness about important social issues.
Project MAD was started in 2014 by 19-year-old Raashi Raghunath, with the intention of keeping Mumbai’s public spaces clean and aesthetically pleasing. Tamim Sangrar, Aditi Monde, Kriti Mahajan, and Shlomoh Samuel joined her to form the core team of this project that has left its creative mark on many walls in the city.
The group believes the defacement of the city’s walls can be stopped by combining two great forces – social responsibility and art. This is the central philosophy of Project MAD.
The team feels if people see freshly painted and aesthetically pleasing walls they will definitely think twice before urinating or spitting on them, as compared to dirty looking walls that attract more dirt.
The Project MAD team started by volunteering with social initiatives they searched out on their own. While the organisations benefited from the publicity the art created about their cause, the team received exposure and experience by being involved with the initiatives they worked for.
The team’s pilot project was on an 80-foot colony wall – the theme was nature and 60 volunteer artists worked on it. The second project was on a smaller wall outside Dockyard Road Station on Harbour Line and, this time, the theme was time. Made by 30 artists, the mural is an ode to the busy commuters on Mumbai’s local trains.
Since its inception, Project MAD has completed several projects and plans on doing more. A recent collaboration with the oldest Deaf and Mute School in India has resulted in a two-month long learning exchange programme where Project MAD is teaching art to the students in exchange for sign language classes.
At the end of the programme, a wall mural will be created and the sign language videos will be put up on YouTube.
In another collaboration, Project MAD worked with the Urja Trust of Dadar, a shelter home for young women. In this project, they helped give the old, dingy walls of the shelter an artistic makeover, while spreading the message of women empowerment.
The team made it a point to involve the women in the painting process to ensure their home was painted the way they wanted it.
Project MAD’s artwork on the walls of Manilal Sunderji School is an effort to sensitise young minds about issues such as feminism and LGBT rights.
Project MAD is also working in partnership with the Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) to spread awareness about the transmission and prevention of AIDS. The murals, accompanied by messages in Hindi and Marathi, provide information about safe sex, address sexual prejudices, and combat the stigma associated with such prejudices.
Through this project, Project MAD hopes to mobilise and educate urban youth about making the right lifestyle choices that do not expose them to disease.
Project MAD provides space and opportunity to everyone willing to join their cause, even if they don’t know how to paint.
Always on the lookout for new artists and new causes, this phenomenal project is bringing together like-minded college students who want to make a difference to society. And yes, they are also making the city a brighter and better place to live in.
Project MAD raise funds for their events and art supplies through anonymous donors, crowd funding websites like Bitgiving.com and philanthropic sponsors who wish to lend their support to this wonderful initiative. You can also contribute towards their effort by clicking on the link https://www.bitgiving.com/MADpaintforchange or visiting their Facebook page for more details.