Dive into the thriving scene of graffiti and street art in India as you explore the transformed nooks of these urban cities.
Gone are the days when art was restricted to paintings and murals tucked away in the quiet corners of museums. Today, it is taking varying shapes and forms, seeping into common spaces and reaching to its potential audiences itself. And one of its most hybrid expressions, street art in India has taken upon itself to brighten up forgotten neighbourhoods, contribute to urban regeneration and social reforms, and bring communities together.
5 cities with the quirkiest street art in India
Stroll past the Lodhi Art District, and chances are you’ll be hooked by thoughtful and dramatic arts painted on almost every other wall. Over the years, organisations like St+ART India have put in great time and efforts in transforming many notable corners and areas across the country, especially in the capital. The streets of Lodhi Colony, Hauz Khas, Khan Market, Connaught Place, Shahpur Jat, and in fact, the walls of many metro stations like Govind Puri, Arjan Garh, and Nehru Place, have all been revamped with intricate graffiti done by local as well as global artists.
It may have been its annual exhibition of Kochi-Muziris Biennale that put Kochi on the global map, but it is certainly its walls spilling art, murals, and graffiti that have truly put it under the spotlight. From the Banksy-style portraits of personalities like Bob Marley, Monalisa, and Che Guevara to faces of famous locals and superstars like are strewn all over Fort Kochi. The dull walls of Mattancherry, the spice market district of Fort Kochi, have been painted bright, in particular.
No other place in India connects with art like Mumbai. The city brims with artists and inspirations, making it easier for people to spot art on the sprawling walls in even the most dungiest and busiest lanes. Old-school graffiti, social messages, or just pure contemporary works — street art spreads sporadically throughout Mumbai, beautifying walls especially in areas like Bandra, Mahim, Dharavi, and Peddar Road.
Not that Goa needed another reason for locals as well as foreign travellers to flock it, but graffiti walls boasting art inspired by the its diversity and unique identity, certainly adds to its charm. Next time you are here, save some days from bar crawling and beach hopping, simply to explore, on foot, the labyrinth lanes of Panjim, Morgaon, and Anjuna where Goan life and culture are best depicted through painted walls. Serendipity Arts Festival in 2019 also brought along artists of global repute to make tourist hotspots here all the more aesthetically pleasing!
Kolkata lives and breathes art. Thanks to the city’s inclination towards the subjects of politics, culture, sports, and literature, its graffiti scene comes laden with arts like tongue-in-cheek political satires, murals of laureates, and caricatures of football players. From bus stands to trams to restaurant walls and everything in between, art is everywhere in the city, especially spots like Park Street, College Street, St Lawrence High School, and Lake Gardens Warehouse.
From stained, peeling walls to vibrant works of art — localities of Chennai have come a long way, thanks to various student initiatives (like #ConquerTheConcrete and Paintbox) and the recently launched Start Chennai art festival. You can spot film stars, tigers in wilderness, happy faces of locals, and city maps sprayed all over the walls, pavements, and public places around Cathedral Road, Egmore Station, and Harrington Road. The Kannagi Nagar is particularly striking and deserves a stroll.