Street art form has always know for its bold and soulful expression, where artist define their art by turning a bare piece of wall into a story which forces every individual to stop and think, even if it is for a tiny fraction of your time.
There was a time, even up until a decade ago, when Street art (at least in India) automatically called for adjectives like subversive and rebellious. Thanks to social media which has helped graffiti artists come together like never before. Initiatives like St-art and Graffiti In India make sure our streets are more interactive.
From anonymous underground artists to community-based projects, these art initiatives are break new ground in India with their bold styles and ideas.
Graphic designer and artist Ranjit Dahiya’s Bollywood Art Project pays tribute to Mumbai’s long association with Bollywood through murals of classic Hindi films. Their style is influenced by the dying tradition of hand-painted Hindi movie posters. Last year, Dahiya partnered with Delhi artist Yantr to paint India’s largest mural, depicting the father of Indian cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke.
This street artist’s moniker ‘yantr’ means machine. Accordingly, most of his works such as flying chariots and masked figures are mechanical and larger-than-life. His art is unique and evokes neglected socio-political issues with a splash of color.
Anpu Varkey is known for her signature cat-themed murals which have found a place on the walls of cities including Delhi, Pune, Rishikesh and Chennai. This gifted artist has been around the world to showcase her art. With her first solo show in New York, she moved to Germany and then finally to India in 2011. In 2014, she collaborated with German graffiti artist Hendrik Beikirch to create the 158-feet-high Mahatma Gandhi mural at the Delhi Police Headquarters.
Artist Harshvardhan Kadam founded the Pune Street Art Project in 2012. Held in collaboration with local and visiting artists, it has helped transform the city’s oldest residential locality Kasba Peth into a colourful art hub.
Shilo Shiv Suleman
Bengaluru-based Suleman founded the Fearless Collective in 2012 to raise awareness about gender-based violence using art. Since then, it has travelled to cities such as Ahmedabad, Delhi and Varanasi, working with communities and artists to paint murals inspired by local traditions and culture.
This mural is one of his recent work of art, describing women as ‘Ruh’ or spirit – the force that breathes and moves through all things.
Graphic designer Harsh Raman is behind Delhi-based street art initiatives such as the Brinda Project that highlighted the similarities between India and Brazil. He also started the Wall of Women project, which teams up female artists with women from Delhi’s neighbourhoods to paint city walls.
Photographer and artist Kejriwal’s Missing project aims to bring the issue of trafficking of women into India’s public spaces by combining art, activism and technology. The crowd-funded public art project places larger-than-life black silhouettes of ‘missing’ girls on streets and landmarks. People can interact with each piece through a mobile app, which sheds more light on the issue of trafficking of women and girls in India.
This Mumbai designer began the Breaking the Silence project, using popular Bollywood stereotypes in the form of street art to talk about gender injustice and the depiction of women in Hindi cinema. Each work is digitally reworked, printed and pasted, accompanied by hard-hitting dialogue that turns sexist stereotypes on their head.
One of the few female graffiti/Street artists on the block, she draws her inspiration from New York’s Lady Pink. Her art works are rich in bright colors, pink being her favorite. She believes in using colors in an intriguing way to connect with the audience.
Mumbai’s anonymous street artist Tyler is known for his witty statements on everything from global politics and consumerism to local civic issues. The stencilled pieces reimagine familiar icons into satirical images.