New icons of Nizam's Hyderabad draw crowds

New icons of Nizam's Hyderabad draw crowds

The 425-year-old city of pearls and Charminar now have new icons to boast. The “Love Hyderabad”, a typographical design on Tank Bund on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake, is the city’s latest tourist spot.

The tallest national flag post, the modern art paintings on the walls of Madarasa Maktha near Raj Bhavan are a few other new spots drawing huge crowds, particularly during weekends.

The typographical design was a gift from Asian Paints, St+art India Foundation, Art@Telangana, and Krishnakriti Foundation.  Described as a tribute to the Nizam’s city, artist Hitesh Malaviya, in collaboration with Hanif Kureshi, has designed the new icon, in front of which visitors love to take selfies. The icon is in red and white and in two languages to cut across language barrier.

“It will instill a sense of togetherness among citizens and also gives a contemporary identity to the over four-century-old city,” says Giulia Ambrogi, co-founder and curator of St+art India Foundation. B V Papa Rao, trustee of Art@Telangana, who is responsible for the street arts festival in Maktha area, stresses the need for aesthetic look in urban areas. “This icon is the foundation for such movement in urban areas,” he added.

 However, the new icon also has become a target of graffiti and vandalism just like Golconda and Charminar.  Many youngsters are writing messages across its face and sitting on top of it posing for photographs.

The Hussainsagar lake police have appointed three guards to take care of the icon round the clock. Security had to be beefed up as one of the private guards on duty was beaten up by revelers at midnight a few weeks ago. Now the icon is fenced to keep the visitors at bay.

 Prashant Lahoti of Krishnakriti Foundation said that after the initial euphoria dies down the fencing will be removed. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has lit up the whole area with LED lights as many tourists are parking their vehicles on the busy Tank Bund road to take photographs in front of the new artwork. Soon a CCTV camera will be installed at the new tourist spot.

Madarasa Maktha was once a ghetto on the opposite side of Raj Bhavan adjacent to railway track linking Secunderabad with Hyderabad station. In recent years it has become a middle class residential colony dotted with multi-storeyed buildings that have come up without proper plan or concern for aesthetics. The way Maktha has transformed into a tourist attraction is astonishing.  The sixth edition of  International Street and Urban Arts festival, hosted by art@telangana and Krishnakriti Foundation and supported by Asian Paints  from November 1 to 12, transformed several sites across Necklace Road and MS Makhta  into a virtual modern art museum with murals and installations.

Walls of haphazardly built complexes turned into gigantic canvasses that could be seen from a distance. The 3-km stretch of Necklace Road that runs next to the Hussainsagar Lake now offers a fatigue-free drive.

In all, nine Indian and international urban and contemporary artists along with 10 artists from Telangana have come together to spruce up Maktha and to create living spaces . They include Artez (Serbia), Alber (Bordeaux, France), Nikola Mihajlovic (Serbia), Jean Luc Feugeas (France), Remed (France), Nilesh (Pune), Neelima Mahanta (Delhi), Daan Botlek (Netherlands), Daku (Delhi), and Dia Mehta (Hyderabad).

“The aim of the St+art festivals is to make art accessible to a wider audience by taking it out of the conventional gallery spaces and embedding it within the cities we live in-- making art truly democratic and accessible to everyone,” says the St+art India Foundation, a non-profit organisation, that works on art projects in public spaces.

The artists with the help of cranes treated, cured and made the walls ready with putty to enable the artists and a few volunteers to proceed with the artwork. Local youth also chipped in and helped the artists to complete their work by offering them water and tea. They also pledged that they will not deface the walls that were painstakingly spruced up by the artists.

Not far away from the two other new icons, is the biggest Indian tricolour which is 108x72 feet on a massive 100 tonne 300 feet tall flagpost at the Sanjeevaiah Park on the banks of historic Hussain Sagar. The Telangana government has spent Rs 3 crore on the project.

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