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

LONDON: Two Gujaratis have led a small team of artists, who spent nearly two days painting a gigantic portrait mural of Queen Elizabeth II on the exterior of a building in Hounslow — a large suburban district of West London — to honour the 96-year-old after her death.
Jignesh Patel (49) and Yash Patel (19), both born in Ahmedabad, led a team of six artists — four student artists aged under 12, including Jignesh’s eight-year-old daughter Priya, and two local artists Babji and Khushi — to paint the 10mx8m detailed portrait.
The mural is on the exterior of a two-floor empty building that used to house restaurant ‘Dosa Hut’, opposite Hounslow East tube station, not far from Creative Art Campus, which both Jignesh and Yash run.
The aim is to give tribute to the Queen and create a memory to 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 to pay tribute to the Queen. Everyone loves it. So many people have come by to take pictures. We are from the Commonwealth, our forefathers all loved the Queen and we do too. Indians all have respect for the Queen,” Jignesh told TOI.
The team started their work at 10am on Sunday — three days after she died — and finished at 5am on Tuesday.
“Yash and I did not sleep for 60 hours,” Jignesh said. “Yash climbed ladders at least 1,000 times.”
While Yash did the drawing and sketching from a photo on a computer, Jignesh did the blocking part 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 owing to having to climb up and down ladders with buckets of paint.
“We did not have enough money to pay for scaffolding or rent a cherry picker, which would have been quicker,” Jignesh said.
The Indian diaspora in the UK crowdfunded £1,183 (Rs 1 lakh) towards their costs. British Indians Nimit, Hesel, Darshan and Shakti stayed with them bringing food and lent them ladders and an air spray gun. Local councillors also lent their support.
Jignesh did not train as an artist and simply started painting as a child. He taught art in private classes in Ahmedabad from 1995 and moved to the UK in 2006 on a highly skilled migrant visa due to his artistic talent. Yash did Art A-level.
It is not the first time the duo has painted a large mural. In 2019 they painted a giant portrait of Van Gogh on the exterior of their studio since he had lived in Isleworth, located within the London Borough of Hounslow.
The duo has also broken several Guinness World records, most recently with a giant 15sqm bubble wrap painting they created in 2021 to honour Covid heroes.

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