Wall art’s message: Use face masks to fight COVID-19

A mural by Hyderabad artists Kona Ramakoteswara Rao and Sridhar Uppura highlights the importance of wearing masks

When artists Sridhar Uppura and Kona Ramakoteswara Rao arrived at Hyderabad’s Shamshabad toll plaza in January, the topic for their wall art was clear — the use of face masks to fight COVID-19 and save lives.

“All we saw around us was negligence and the casual approach of people towards wearing masks and following social distancing norms. The focus was to highlight the seriousness of this pandemic,” says Sridr.

Wall art by Sridhar Uppura and Kona Ramakoteswara Rao  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The duo painted the half-kilometre wall in three weeks. Now as India reels under a second wave of COVID-19, the founders of Daksha Creative Commercials hope their wall art raises social awareness.

Vinay Cheguri, a tech professional and the marketing head of Daksha, recently tweeted about these paintings; there are eight paintings and they depict people from different walks of life: a kid, traffic policeman, homemaker and an old man — all in masks, staring directly at the beholder with anxious eyes. The painted wall states: ‘Fight Together.’

Sridhar Uppura  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“The current situation has made us anxious and helpless irrespective of background. Paintings are a way to inspire and bring a change in attitude towards the mandatory use of masks when we step out,” he says.

Kona Ramakoteswara Rao  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

His partner Ramakoteswara Rao has tested positive and is currently isolated at home. The duo is alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University and have been working on commercial projects across Telangana through its company launched five years ago. “Shamshabad Municipality had commissioned the work to us as part of the city beautification,” adds Sridhar.

The duo has also painted themes on the Swachh Bharat Mission on the opposite side of the wall near this toll plaza. “The toll plaza has a constant flow of traffic and vehicles naturally slow down. The wall was ideal to make a social commentary on the present crisis,” adds Sridhar, hoping the message is disseminated loud and clear.

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