“Heartbeats of Stony Brook,” an outdoor mural conceptualized by Naveen Mallangada ’17, was finally completed at the beginning of September.
The beautification project was painted inside the Nichols Road underpass, connecting East Campus and West Campus with two heartbeats. It was mostly complete by April 2016, but planned construction on the hospital side prevented Mallangada from painting the second heartbeat until this semester. Mallangada, now a Stony Brook medical student, felt determined to finish the project as soon as construction was over, finally connecting the two hearts of the University.
“In between studying for anatomy and biochemistry in the medical school, I squeezed time to finally complete the project,” he explained. “It just ended up that I painted the West Campus heart when I was an undergraduate, and I painted the East Campus heart in medical school. The project inadvertently represents my own transition between the campuses.”
The mural is meant to symbolize a connection between the two “hearts” of the University. “I felt the tunnel should reflect its importance to the students and the University community. I used that heart imagery to literally paint the hearts of campus,” Mallangada said.
The project was a community effort with help from people from all over the University. It’s Mallangada’s second project on campus, after he initiated the transformation of the Tabler Steps from regular stairs into piano keys. That previous experience gave him the tools he needed to undergo the larger project of painting the hospital tunnel.
“With the Tabler Piano Steps I learned the value of getting the word out, of collaborating and connecting with people. I learned to remain determined and persevere with an idea no matter the obstacle,” he said.
Mallangada sees his art as an extension of his mission to improve people’s lives. “As a medical student, your desire is to improve the lives of your patients and to become the best physician possible,” he explained. “I view public art as a form of public medicine, improving our surroundings, providing a message and depth to people’s daily lives, even for a moment.”