By Bhawna Chauhan, Gargi Chanda & Keren Elizabeth Abraham
(Master of Design, National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi)
Vandalism, disrespect, rebellion, a symbol of urban decay, these are few descriptors the vast majority of the population would use for graffiti or Street art, but is graffiti any different than any other art form? Just like any other piece of art, graffiti is an expression. It can easily be argued that graffiti is the biggest art movement ever seen, especially on a global scale. Street art today in a way is allowing people to connect with art and expression on a daily basis, the colourful and beautiful murals painted on walls, trains etc reach out to the public every day.
If Bandra’s charm could be codified, I guess this would be it. Cats and silver leaves—collaborative mural by Anpu Varkey (India) and Tika (Switzerland)
So what happens when 20 internationally renowned street artists from all over the world, and two passionate people from Delhi get together and decide to bring the power of art as a medium of creative expression to the streets of India, free and accessible to all? St+arthappens.
Unlike countries where street art is infamous, public walls in India get commissioned face-lifts by artists working with Government authorities.
Around 5 years ago, the walls in our cities were covered only with random posters, paan stains, and trails of urine. But that’s changed. Today, you will see art squashed between posters, stains and hawkers; fighting for their space in the sunshine. This modern art form, if I can call it that, stands on the razor’s edge — to one side it is vandalism and to the other it’s about art, conversation, and dialogue.
Last year we explored Khirki Village near Saket, the experience of which we captured in our post Discover Khirki Village – The Graffiti Hub of Delhi. This February, we were really excited to see on Facebook the surge of pics from St.Art Delhi‘s street art festival in Shahpur Jat. The desire to explore fresh street art increased our curiosity to the point that finally on a holiday we made it to Shahpur Jat in the early hours. There couldn’t be a better time of the year to go there!