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.
In India, Graffiti is far from rebellion; artists are invited by city corporations to paint their walls. In Fort Kochi, it’s different.
Wall art is not new to India. We have always used walls as canvases, evidence of which is found in our villages even today. Over the past few years, it has changed. Simple, traditional wall art has become abstract, thought-provoking graffiti that adorns walls along a road, rarely your own personal space. And it’s definitely modern now; you see graffiti in hip areas across the country from Bandra to Hauz Khas. Last year, one brand used graffiti to market their clothing line in a Mumbai mall’s parking lot.
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!
March 2013: Khirki village is located in South Delhi near Saket. In its vicinity are posh structures including malls, private hospitals and luxury hotels. Yet this small village has managed to retain its archaic touch by staying detached from the urban atmosphere of Delhi up to quite an extent. It is divided into separate Hindu & Muslim majority areas, has narrow crisscrossing streets and the hustle-bustle of villagers going about with their busy routines. There is also the ancient Khirki Mosque adjoining the village. Add to this assortment the gamut of graffiti and street artworks adorning the village walls and you get a spicy curry called Khirki village.