Kunel Gaur Pays Homage To Freedom Fighters Using A Mumbai Taxi As His Canvas - Homegrown

Kunel Gaur Pays Homage To Freedom Fighters Using A Mumbai Taxi As His Canvas

Yet another taxi has been given a makeover courtesy Taxi Fabric. But this one too is different, very different.
Inspired by India’s freedom struggle, and influenced by the fresco-styled artworks of the Renaissance, Kunel Gaur’s design depicts India’s freedom fighters in a way you’ve never seen them before—swathed in togas, with Gandhi caps on their heads.Speaking about his artwork, Gaur says, “I wanted to do something for Independence Day and I have always been inspired by India’s freedom fighters. These are the real people behind the battles—hundreds and thousands of them. Forget having holidays named after them, there are so many whose names we don’t even know. The common man is always forgotten in struggles of this magnitude.”
As for the Renaissance, Gaur finds peace and a certain sense of freedom in its depiction. The freedom fighters all had one unifying desire: to see a free and peaceful India. And Gaur found that freedom within the Renaissance style and chose it to spread his message.
Mohammed Sattar, the 42-year-old taxi driver whose vehicle was chosen as the canvas for Gaur’s art says, "I really like the designs Kunel bhai made, because they represent the independence of our nation, which makes me proud. Not just that, it is a symbol to remember all those who gave their lives for our independence. And, I think it is important that their memory is kept alive."It also holds a special meaning for him beyond regular patriotism: His uncle, Fakrudeen Ali was involved in the freedom struggle. He fought in an uprising in his village, which subsequently led to him being jailed. Every now and then, as the fabric was being fitted, Gaur would look over at Sattar, who would just stare at the design in silence, enraptured.
In Gaur's eyes, design is a collective study of culture—much like music. And when people come together and collaborate to create something, it very often results in something beautiful. In conclusion, Gaur laments, "I wish there are more such collaborations on both sides, which should not be so difficult knowing our cultures are so similar."

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Photographs by Sharon Borgoyary, Sumer Mehta and Niqita Gupta

Words: Neville Bhandara

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