Meet The Duo That’s Making Mumbai More Vivid and Lively

Meet Shriya Sanil and Shamika Desai — two 21-year-old architecture students who are putting their artistic flair to great use by making Mumbai prettier.

The city of Mumbai is known for many things — being pretty and pristine isn’t one of them. While numerous walls in the city have murals painted on them by uncouth men spitting pan, there’s a duo that’s doing its bit to rectify that in its own little way.

Meet Shriya Sanil and Shamika Desai — two 21-year-old architecture students who are putting their artistic flair to great use by making Mumbai prettier. Shriya and Shamika were a part of the team that was selected from scores of entries to paint murals and design the walls at the new Metro station in Andheri. While the task was daunting, the girls did such a fantastic job that their story was covered by some of the leading newspapers of the city.

The Majhi Metro Project

Shriya, though, admits that there was an element of fortune involved. “We were informed about the project by Reliance and sent in our entries just to try our luck. It was a surprise — a pleasant one at that — when we were selected. It was a great opportunity and we were very excited to be a part of the massive project.”

Shamika, on the other hand, saw it as a great way to break the monotony in her life. “Both Shriya and I were inclined towards art and graphic design for as long as I can remember. We love architecture, but it can be creatively stifling — and this project offered us the perfect opportunity to explore and enhance that very creative side.”

Shriya Sanil (middle) & Shamika Desai (right)

The Majhi Metro Project by Reliance was their first big coup, and the two worked on it along with a friend and classmate, Misri Patel. However, as they would soon discover, the bigger the job, the greater the toil. “We worked on the project for a good four months, which included two and a half months of intensive work,” says Shriya. “We went to the Andheri station almost every day, and painted for six or seven hours at a stretch. It was tedious and stressful — but it taught us more than we ever learnt in a classroom.”

Shamika, too, says that the project boosted both their confidence to work with big projects, as well as their own creative skills. “Since we had to be thorough professionals at all times, we couldn’t afford to put a foot wrong. I think that helped us grow tremendously.”

La Folie Lab Restaurant Art

But those are laurels of the past. As of today, the duo has a lot more projects lined up, including an art project for La Folie Lab in Bandra, a venture started by Sanjana Patel. “This project is a lot smaller in terms of scale but it’s a lot more cohesive in terms of its connection to the customers and the entire theme of the establishment,” Shamika adds.

Where does the duo go from here, then?

“We’d like to pursue our love for both art and architecture and perhaps, eventually, find a common ground where we could blend the two,” says Shriya. “The biggest goal is to present something a tad more playful in our work, while at the same time promoting art in architecture in a manner that art becomes a part of the package rather that just an added feature.”

“Other than that we have no idea where it’ll take us,” says Shamika. “As for now, we’re just, well, going with the flow.”

You can get in touch with the fantastic duo by writing into them at [email protected] or [email protected].

Rameez Shaikh

Rameez Shaikh is a twenty-three year old writer. With a degree in journalism to his name, he's an aspiring author with an absolutely astounding admiration for alliteration. Leisure propels him to read, dance, pen fiction and gloat about himself in third person. On weekdays, he works as a features writer. On weekends, he's a Manchester United fan.

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