Now, murals and graffiti add colour to City's mottled walls

STREET ART

Delhi University, Shahpur Jat, Khirki Extension, Hauz Khas Village or Malviya Nagar – all these places have one thing in common – murals or graffiti painted walls. There are myriad hues all around, thanks to the concept of street art that is gaining momentum in the City these days.

Harsh Raman Singh Paul, a designer, illustrator and a documentary filmmaker, who has also participated at the ongoing St. Art Festival, believes that Delhi being the national Capital is the best place for street art. “Street Art is an expression of freedom. It is a medium to express our concern and give voice to social and political activities. By doing street art or graffiti, an artist communicates his feelings to the world,” says Harsh.

Notably, graffiti is a form of lettering and a graffiti artist spray-paints his name or a symbol on a wall in the form of a stylised signature (which is often very colourful). In true graffiti spirit, especially in the Western sense of the term, this signifies ‘possession’ of the particular wall. However, in Indian cities, most artists are doing it to rid the cities of their dirty walls.

Street art, on the other hand, is a type of visual art created outdoors – whether it’s a spray-painted mural, stencil art, sticker art or even street poster art. It’s more than mere lettering. It represents an idea – a picture or a set of words.
But how difficult it is to paint congested residential areas of Delhi?

“Street art has its relevance in congested areas,” says another artist Anpu Varkey his voice tinged with excitement. “Street art adds colour to any place which is dominated with grey walls and pollution. It is not about Delhi but in any city full of jostling crowds, street art enlivens and adds a lot of colours around,” says Anpu.

 The artist did a fine arts course from University of Baroda and later moved to London to pursue higher education. It was in 2012 she came back to India and decided to paint the City walls along with her artist friend. “I started with Khirki extension in Delhi and thereafter, moved to other cities like Kochi and Pune,” says the young artist.

Since the concept of street art comes from western countries, Anpu says, “In comparison to western countries, street artists get more freedom in India.” She cites the example of the ongoing Street Art Festival and specifically the mural of Mahatma Gandhi on the wall of Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO. “We cannot even dare to imagine to paint the wall of a New York Police Department. Graffiti is a crime and only few people support public art,” informs she.

But according to her, as time passes, many new things will unfold.
“Companies will decorate their offices with funny and quirky designs in India. A lot of creativity will be seen in the coming time,” says Anpu.

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