Huge hoardings of advertisements in the earlier 60s have shown the might of brands by splashes of colours and caught the attention of the large crowds. Then with the flex and banners of the precise paintings, the figures of politics, social importance and Bollywood stars dominated the streets. Images of Gods along the walkways prevented the general public urinating on the walls. Small businesses advertised by handmade Indian paintings.
In the nights, the frustrated youths sparked out their emotions on the walls of cities by chalks. Later on, this way of expression gave birth to a new intuition to the present generation and street art got recognised. The act which was once regarded as vandalism is now evolving as an art — Graffiti or street art.
INKZEN, NME, DIBS are just a few groups of street artists who took it as passion. The next phase was the street art festivals. Later on, this structure, along with government collaborations started working in public spaces. Gradually the graffiti which once started to decline in Kolkata, its birthplace, is growing in other cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Many street art festivals are being organised in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
The first street art festival was organised in 2012 in Delhi by Astha Chauhan and Matteo Ferraresi and was called “Khirkee Extension”. It was a social experiment aimed to see if such an event can exist without any funding. It was a big success as like-minded artists came to the event on their own.
After this event and with the rise of social media, these artists began to interact among their peers and more such events were organised. Organisations such as Delhi Street Art and Street Art India foundation were formed soon after. These organisations with the association of central organisations, local municipal corporations and central initiative of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan were able to create images which are inoffensive and devoid of any strong meaning.
The St+art is a non-profit organisation which brought together a bunch of artists who add colour and creativity to the barren walls of the streets of Delhi and gradually to other cities of India. The idea was to broaden the meaning of art as not just beautiful paintings but also as an expression of the masses which could make the thought process of the people to initiate a conversation. The result was marvellous.
Earlier, intellectuals were flocking through art museums and galleries and discussions were limited, but now they have an open space and the group is not limited. Every passerby or the neighbour can see these arts and the publicity increased. For the local government, it was a win-win situation as the artist decorates the city walls and flyover columns with abstract ideas and expressions.
Artists painted a slum of an Indian city before the visit of an international delegate. Local municipal corporations utilised this concept as a means to decorate the plain walls of the city. “Wicked Broz” is regarded as the first graffiti agency of India. It started on the walls of the campus of Sinhgad Institute of Technology in Lonavala. The initial startup was by the art on empty bottles and a pool parlour. Now it is receiving international accolades for their efforts of transforming the cities.
One of the most talked activities by the “Wicked Broz” is the question mark campaign. Question marks were sprayed on around 500 potholes of Mumbai which appeared in the next day’s newspaper and made the authorities open their eyes to one of the biggest social problems of Mumbai.
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