A dash of colour, and myriad shapes come alive. Art is the best way for man to showcase and feel emotion. Well, outside the obscure realm of fancy art galleries with indecipherable paintings worth millions, there is art that is simple, striking and beautiful.
Street art is a whole different ball game, and artists in India are truly pushing the envelope. The paintings are sometimes even loaded with important messages to society. Well-crafted, quirky, and utterly delightful, here are eight street artists who are turning conventions around with their striking art.
This incredible Mumbai-based street artist incorporates digital media with street art. She is behind the ‘Breaking the Silence’ project, that takes popular Bollywood stereotypes as a basis to talk about gender injustice and the depiction of women in Hindi cinema. Her work is bold, striking and hits home.
Each piece is digitally reworked, printed and pasted. The hard-hitting dialogue helps turn sexist stereotypes on their head. Through her art, Jheel wants to inspire people to speak up about the injustices faced by India women. She wants to show how Bollywood has mostly depicted women as secondary characters.
Other themes like rape, prostitution, eve-teasing and LGBT rights are explored in her work.
This talented, dynamic artist was born in the UK, brought up in Toronto and California, and shifted to India, an environment oblivious to Street Art. She got noticed when The Art Loft asked her to join their festival called the Art Conspiracy, bringing together musicians, indie artists, photographers and other creative minds in and around Bandra, Mumbai.
Jas created a design called ‘Don’t Mess With Me’, also commonly known as ‘The Pink Lady’, after the 2012 Delhi rape case. This became a symbol for women to express their anguish.
Today, Jas and her husband run Kulture Shop, a sustainable eco-system for the best Indian graphic artists around the globe. Colourful and with a message, Jas’ art is truly unreal!
This artist’s ‘MISSING’ project has brought the issue of female trafficking to light. Combining art, activism and technology, the project placed larger-than-life black silhouettes of ‘missing’ girls on streets and prominent landmarks. With each piece, people could interact through a mobile app and gain knowledge on the topic.
Leena has been an artist in residence in France, and cities like Kolkata, Delhi, Tehran, Berlin and Weimar have been the subjects of her large-scale photographic installations.
For the last several years, Leena has been working with many NGOs on the issues of human trafficking and prostitution of young girls. Through ‘Missing’, she presents her concerns to the public in an interesting and engaging manner.
She goes by the moniker ‘Dizy’, and is also a hip-hop dancer, an avid painter and a fitness blogger. Her mother encouraged her talents and is also a painter. Winning art competitions has been a part of Singh’s life since childhood. Her love for hip-hop and art eventually fused, and a unique art form was born. One that fused street elements and style with vivid colours, thus lending her work its own unique identity.
Singh always takes due permissions before starting to work on any city space and finds that people in rural areas are more open towards getting graffiti on their walls. Singh’s art is old-school graffiti, with chunky letters in bright colours, and tiny caricatures as well.
Art has helped her form an identity, and this once-shy artist is unafraid to take on the streets around the world with her interesting work. Read the rest of her interesting story here.
A Manipur native, Rush has been actively painting since 2010. Rush has left an imprint on four important places in Delhi, at IIT, Hauz Khas, ISBT Flyover and Chanakyapuri. By her admission, art gives her a rush, and so she chose her name.
Back home, people weren’t open to her fondness for graffiti, but now Rush is widely known and loved. She loves to play with words and the dominant colour in her work is pink.
She wants to give visual pleasure to people, and she hopes that with one look, a person can look at her graffiti and know it is a signature Rush piece.
Rush collaborates with Daku and Treble, when she works on walls in Delhi.
Trained as a painter, Anpu has a body of work instantly recognisable because of the cat-themed murals that have gone on walls in Delhi, Pune, Rishikesh and Chennai. She is responsible for one of the most significant artworks in India–the gigantic Mahatma Gandhi statue on the imposing tower of the Delhi Police Headquarters.
A Bengaluru native, she painted a humongous harvest moon on the unpainted wall of a house near the Halasuru Metro Station. Anpu left Bengaluru at 17 and went to M.S University in Baroda to study painting, and then the Byam Shaw School of Art in London.
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Anpu feels, the best way to reach out to the world is to paint a wall that is open to everyone. The massive Gandhi painting was quite an achievement, considering she and her work-partner had to climb to the roof of a nearby mosque to observe it holistically.
These female artists are breathing life into city walls in India one stroke at a time!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)