Gujarati artists pay tribute to Queen with giant portrait mural on building in Hounslow

LONDON: Two Gujaratis led a small group of artists who spent nearly two days painting a giant portrait mural of Queen Elizabeth II on the outside of a building in Hounslow – a large West London suburb – to honor the 96-year-old after her death.
Jignesh Patel (49) and Yas Patel (19), both born in Ahmedabad, led a team of six artists — four student artists under the age of 12, including Jignesh’s eight-year-old daughter Priyaand two local artists Babji and Khushi — to paint the detailed 10mx8m portrait.
The mural is located on the exterior of a two-storey empty building which housed the ‘Dosa Hut’ restaurant, opposite Hounslow East tube station, not far from Creative Art Campusrun by both Jignesh and Yash.
The aim is to pay tribute to the Queen and create a memory of her that can be enjoyed by thousands of people for many years to come. The paint can withstand all weather conditions for about 15 years.
“We are artists so this is the only way we know how to pay tribute to the Queen. Everyone loves it. So many people have stopped by to take pictures. We are from the Commonwealth, all our ancestors loved the Queen and so do we. All Indians have respect for the queen,” Jignesh told TOI.
The team started work at 10am on Sunday – three days after her death – and finished at 5am on Tuesday.
“Yash and I didn’t sleep for 60 hours,” said Jignesh. “Yash climbed stairs at least 1,000 times.”
While Yash did the design and sketch from a photo on a computer, Jignesh did the blocking and then Yash did the detailed painting. They used acrylic paint to paint her face and a spray gun for the background.
They had hoped to finish it in a day, but it took so long because they had to carry buckets of paint up and down stairs.
“We didn’t have enough money to pay for scaffolding or rent a cherry picking machine, which would have been faster,” Jignesh said.
The Indian diaspora in the UK funded £1,183 (Rs 1 lakh) towards their costs. British Indians Nimit, Hesel, Darshan and Shakti stayed with them bringing food and lending them ladders and an air spray gun. Local councilors also supported.
Jignesh he was not trained as an artist and simply started drawing as a child. He taught art privately in Ahmedabad from 1995 and moved to the UK in 2006 on a highly skilled immigration visa due to his artistic talent. Yash did Art A-level.
This is not the first time the duo has painted a large mural. In 2019 they painted a giant portrait of Van Gogh outside their studio after he lived in Isleworth, which is in the London Borough of Hounslow.
The duo have also broken several Guinness World Records, most recently with a massive 15m2 bubble painting they created in 2021 to honor Covid heroes.

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