In Chennai, India's largest panoramic mural created in solidarity with AIDS survivors [Photos]
The panoramic mural, titled ‘We Are’, spreads the message of shared humanity, of how people suffering or having recovered from AIDS deserve equal rights and a place in society.
St+art India Foundation, TANSACS, Tidel Park and Southern Railway have come together to create India’s largest mural titled ‘We Are’. The art work supported by Asian Paints, began in December last year; took approximately 40 days to complete and spans a vast 63,000 sq ft. It aims to de-stigmatise the HIV and AIDS affected community and empower them while sharing hopeful stories of survivors. | Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. In 2017, HIV prevalence among adults (aged 15-49) was an estimated 0.2 percemt. This figure is small compared to most other middle-income countries but because of India's huge population (1.3 billion people) this equates to 2.1 million people living with HIV. Overall, this epidemic is slowing down. Between 2010 and 2017 new infections declined by 27 percent and AIDS-related deaths more than halved, falling by 56 percent. (Source: UNAIDS Data 2018) | Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
The panoramic mural, titled ‘We Are’, spreads the message of shared humanity, of how people suffering or having recovered from AIDS deserve equal rights and a place in society. The mural drives this message home by mixing portraits of AIDS patients with those who don't, showing how we are all human, and the same. | Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
The mural is designed by Chennai-based graffiti writer and street artist A-Kill, along with Delhi-based Khatra. A-Kill, whose work is inspired by visuals offered by the streets and everyday life, is renowned for his skilled hand in portraiture, and his special connect with Chennai is reflected in this mural. This month-long project will be unveiled at Chennai’s Indira Nagar Railway Station. | Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
The length of the Indira Nagar railway platform is 280 metres. Seen running through the station facade is the red ribbon — recognised symbol of AIDS awareness, and whose vivid red hue represents ideas of love and passion. The continuous flow of this powerful emblem across the station changes its landscape, emphasises the notion of community and collective responsibility and cements the station as a landmark of Chennai’s inclusive spirit. | Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
The underlying aim is to highlight art as an effective response to global crises, and a tool to deliver messages of awareness, feelings of longing or loss and ideas of hope. The mural depicts the portraits of five individuals, of which three are patients of HIV, but which cannot be determined by just visual appearances.| Photograph by Pranav Gohil.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that, during a pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. Leaving people behind is not an option if we are to succeed. With this ideology in mind, this mural reflects the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, as declared by UNAIDS: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”. Portraying several diverse yet familiar faces, the artwork celebrates these unique identities while reinforcing the notion that there are no physical determinants to AIDS.| Photograph by Pranav Gohil.