No longer restricted to galleries and museums, art is seeping into every available space. And its takeover of Indian streets comes with bucketloads of colour, personality and design. Local and central governments are in on it too. Recently, Orchha was adorned with traditional motifs and art for the Namaste Orchha Festival. But there are cities that have taken this trend to heart, pulling in NGOs and local artists to make art more accessible, in the most literal sense.
It is a city that lives, eats and breathes art. And, of course, with Bollywood as its major inspiration, Mumbai has some of the most iconic works of street art in India, be it old-style graffiti, a social message or art for art&rsquos sake. We just love this warm-toned work of Jesus and Mary, for instance. Our other favourites include Boy Hugging the Rainbow near the Supari Tank Municipal School in Bandra (a popular neighbourhood for street art) and Shri Markandeya&rsquos mural in the heart of Dharavi.
While organisations like StArt have done remarkable work across the country, their presence is most notable in Delhi. Over the past few years, the city has transformed its drab-looking public spaces with bright murals and art. Their work, especially in the Lodhi Art District, is gorgeous. Look out for similar work in Hauz Khas, Connaught Place and Shahpur Jat. Even some of the metro stations (see Govind Puri and Arjan Garh) are a work of art, depicting the culture and heritage of the capital.
It was a few years back that StArt made its debut in Goa and things have never been the same. While Goa is one of the most aesthetically pleasing tourist hotspots in the country, its street art the icing on the cake. In 2019, the city also concluded the Serendipity Arts Festival, with artists like Solomon Souza using their home as a canvas.
There are film stars, city maps and, of course, a bunch of tigers that decorate the walls, airports and theatres of the city. The walls near Stella Maris College on Cathedral Road are one such pick. Art in the city seems to be driven by student initiatives with heavy doses of graffiti. This one in Kannagi Nagar is particularly striking.
Street art can be a balm for the eyes when you're stuck in one of Bengaluru's legendary traffic jams. One of our favourite artists from the city is Shilo Shiv Suleman, whose murals under her Flawless Collective are thought-provoking and feminist in nature. We do love The F Word mural near Jyoti Nivas College in Koramangala (a response to the 2012 Delhi Rape Case). Apart from this, StArt has pitched in plenty of pieces and so have the students from Srishti Institute of Art.
In Kolkata, street art seems to appear organically, a jumble of politics, sports, and culture. Whether it is the city's love for tongue-in-cheek humour (manifested in political graffiti during Left rule) or its passion for football, it all gets a platform in the wall art across Kolkata. Street art here is almost like a citizen-led movement, with everything from CESC electricity boxes (painted mainly by local artists Santosh Das and Ranjit Das) to bus stands and metro stations being used as platforms to showcase everything from culture to the history of Kolkata to social issues.