The group behind the artwork is Swaero Artists' For Empowerment of Society (SAFE), an alumna of artists who studied in state-run social welfare schools and colleges.

A wall art in Kollapakal village of MaheshwaramAll images: By arrangement
news Education Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 19:50

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”; "Swearo Bano-Hero Bano"; "If not now, when? If not we, then who?" — these are just a few of the inspirational lines on a colourful mural that has become familiar to a tiny Dalit colony in Kollapadakal village of Maheshwaram, an hour away from Hyderabad.

Over 30 murals, featuring prominent world leaders, in different colours on the walls of houses are popular selfie points in the area. Anyone who goes in or comes out of the colony can observe the eye-catching street art that is bringing a unique look to the locality. The street art walls were inaugurated on Thursday by RS Praveen Kumar on the occasion of Swaero's eight foundation day.

The group behind the artwork is Swaero Artists' For Empowerment of Society (SAFE), an alumna of artists who studied in state-run social welfare schools and colleges. The representatives of the organisation felt that it was necessary to beautify the area surroundings the localities to encourage children of the underprivileged to be inspired and chase their dreams. 

Swaero is a social transformation movement that was launched by senior IPS officer RS Praveen Kumar Swaero, who is the secretary of the Telangana Social & Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society. The goal of the movement is to instill self-confidence, and encourage students from marginalised communities to pursue higher education.

Pylon Krishna Swaero, president of SAFE who hails from Kollapadakal, told TNM said that the motive behind reimagining the look of the colony was to keep the younger generation inspired. 

"We as Swaeros believe that each thing that we see and encounter in our daily life will influence us to do things. We wanted those plain walls to inspire our brethren to follow their dreams of becoming civil servants, athletes, billionaires and change makers," he said

He further added, "It took just two weeks to change the look of the streets. This will definitely change the way people walk and think. The murals, which have brief success stories of giants, will teach children that our caste and place aren't barriers if we want to win."

The colorful murals include portraits of Savitri Bai Phule, the first-ever teacher in the country who taught marginalised castes and women. Dr BR Ambedkar, Rama Bai Ambedker, Apple founder Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela , Mahatma Gandhi, Gautama Buddha, Albert Einstein and many more are also featured. 

SAFE is planning to take up street art projects across the state in villages to attempt to change the mindsets of people hailing from marginalised and rural backgrounds.

Several murals of contemporary student achievers, including mountaineer Malavat Poorna, Kamatam Madhuri, Nemali Siddharth Darshanala Sushma, Praveen Kumar IPS, and Dalit billionniare Pagidipati Devaiah were also painted on the walls. The SAFE president explained that "painting local figures will make students think to become one of them.”

Ch Srikanth, a 27-year-old teacher from a private school in the village, said of the street art: "This is bringing change. People are starting to think about the works of the figures that were painted. People from neighbouring villages are flocking to see. The walls, which otherwise give the impression of plain and nothingness, have become inspirational scenes."

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