A treat on the street

VIVID SHADES

A treat on the street

A shade of pink outside the Peenya Metro Station is a fleeting image of happiness as are the dark, red lines outside Max Mueller Bhavan. Bengalureans have been soaking in the essence of street art, which has lent a beauty of its own to the roads of the City.

Adding to the street art culture is Amitabh Kumar, who makes murals and is currently working with the students of Srishti School of Art and Design. His images depict how public spaces function and grapple with an ever-changing City. Revolving around art and urbanity, his murals contain a form and a subjective appeal.

He terms the City as an “upcoming street art hub”. Effective patronage, reasonable crowd funding, conducive weather conditions for outdoor activities; passionate students who actively want to depict the local community and easily available permissions are just a few of the reasons, he feels.

It is no surprise then that creative groups like Jaaga and Myra are actively bringing the notion of art outside a gallery and into a public realm as he points out, “A rapid urban demographic change is taking place in Bengaluru. One can locate the high points of the ‘drama’ to draw.”
Amitabh chooses spaces that one can easily go to. His drawings are specific to the site and the cultural context of the space. He has gone on to wield his brush in places like Shivananda Circle, Max Mueller Bhavan, Kasturba Road, Yelahanka and Jakkur.

He is the only City-based street-artist to have participated in the street art festival of Mumbai, ‘St+Art’. The mural he presented there consisted of one crocodile head on another. He adds, “I wanted to look at how two different urban spaces co-exist. I took an idea, visualised it and used it as a metaphor.”

With street art being synonymous to a social protest, Amitabh wants to break this association. “Such artworks are not timeless. I believe that the more basic the street art, the larger its reach. The best thing about street art in India is that it has its own language and rather than mimicking the street art of another place. The need of the hour is to tap the talent and sustain the culture,” he explains.

Amitabh is geared up to attend the ‘St+Art’ festival in Delhi and is soon planning to draw murals in Whitefield. “In Mumbai, it’s quite tough to practise street art due to the soaring real-estate rates and walls being used for advertisements. But in the City, it’s easy to avail permissions comparatively. One day, I hope Bengaluru has its own ‘St+Art’ festival,” he wraps up.

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