How St+art India Initiatives Are Bringing Art to the Streets
Art is crucial to our lives. Not just as a medium of expression, but also as one to educate, enlighten, and raise the awareness of the masses. Earlier, most art was restricted to patrons and people who had the means to pursue it. Those in the lower stratas struggled for opportunities to consume it, forget about practising it on scales larger than the walls of their own humble abodes.
And then, there’s today. When nonprofit organisations like St+art India are doing more than just a bit to bring the art to the masses. To take the expressionism out of sophisticated and air-conditioned art galleries and put it up as street art in India for everyone to enjoy.
St+Art India: How They've Brought Art to the Streets
Empty walls and empty minds have something eerily common – they reflect the lack of awareness and personality. And if you go around any of the major Indian cities, you’ll notice certain walls just staring back at you with a gray look, quite literally. Often, they end up getting plastered by posters of political parties or pamphlets promoting shady products and services.
St+art India went ahead and transformed some of these spaces into structures with personality. Take for instance, the wall art they did on this boundary wall of Tihar Jail in Delhi:
This wall mural was created over a fortnight with contributions from different sign painters across India. Stretching across 968 metres (longest wall mural in India), it depicts the verses of a poem ‘Chardiwari’, composed by one of the women inmates at Tihar Jail. It expresses her plight of being separated from her husband, who is also incarcerated at Tihar.
This wall mural, along with several others pieces of wall art painted as part of the Delhi Street Art Festival, breathed life into the walls of Tihar. A place that houses people considered unfit (by many) to live amongst the general public. A place that doesn’t invoke a lot of hope. And yet, these wall murals did their part in bringing that hope and vibrance back into the air. In addressing the stigma surrounding these inmates and their status as part of our society. If you’ve ever observed those words on the boundary wall of Tihar, now you know their story.
Also mention-worthy is another project that many more of you who live in the capital of India or visit it would’ve seen.
A More Well-known Example
The 158 feet wall mural depicting a smiling Mahatma Gandhi on the wall of Delhi Police Headquarters. Again, painted as part of the Delhi Street Art Festival, this wall mural adorns the outside of a public office and never fails to awe the passersby.
And mind you, St+art India’s work isn’t just limited to single walls. They have taken it upon themselves to transform old and often dilapidated structures into living places of beauty. Take the Sassoon Dock in South Mumbai, for example. Organized in December 2017, the Sassoon Dock Art Project saw wall art by several renowned artists from all over the world. Wall murals and installations transformed the landscape of an age-old fish market (with structures ready to crumble anytime) into a place of beauty and admiration. To give you a brief glimpse, some of the wall art exhibits were:
And these are just glances and sneak peeks. If you’d like to learn more about the installations at the Sassoon Dock Art Project, stay tuned for our post in which we shall discuss the exhibition in detail.
Art may be subjective. Art may be a lot of things. However, there’s no denying that it's a welcome addition to the otherwise morbid and hasty world. And we love the fact that initiatives such as St+art India are doing their part in reviving and promoting street art in India. Apart from being progressive in nature, it’s a symbol of hope and rejuvenation. Both of art and the structures that these installations and wall murals end up breathing life into.
Note: All images belong to St+art India.