MAJESTIC: Unidentified vandals have damaged prints of paintings that livened up the pedestrian subway at the City Railway Station.
Some prints are torn, while others have names or words scrawled across them. These works of art, based on a railways theme, were installed in 2012.
The 25 paintings were products of a rare experiment titled Support and Appreciation for Art and Railways (SAFAR), a movement launched by the Bengaluru Railway Division in 2011-2012 under the leadership of then Divisional Railway Manager, S Mani.
“A large number of Karnataka artists, nationally and internationally acclaimed, took part in a workshop conducted on Platform 5. The best paintings were chosen and prints made to adorn the subway,” says S M Hari, Commercial Inspector, Bengaluru Railway Division.
The paintings were printed and framed by a private company, and the artists were paid an honorarium. Officials from that time are no longer around at the station.
The objective of the campaign was to create an aesthetic ambience, and so bold frames encasing advertisements were removed and these creative pieces installed in their place.
One print shows a boyish god Krishna and his mother Yashoda walking in front of a train, another depicts Mahatma Gandhi getting down from a coach. A third painting captures a panorama with a train chugging along in the foreground.
The vandalism took place over the past month, railway officials suspect. No one has a clue who is responsible, since the subway has no security guards or CCTV.
“If the railway authorities lodge a complaint with us, we can take action. We have not received any complaint so far,” Superintendent of Police S N Siddaramappa says.
He believes the vandalism “can only be booked as a petty case.”
“The paintings need to be replaced now,” Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Anup Dayanand Sadhu says.
Hari underlines the need for citizens to protect art at railway properties. “They always demand better service from us. It is their responsibility not to destroy something like this,” he says.