St+art Festival is a collaborative platform for street artists from India and around the world. It works on the idea of ‘Art for Everyone’ with the primary objective of making art accessible for wider audiences while having a positive impact on society.
After having wowed Delhi folks with stunning street art on everything from giant shipping containers to DDA complexes earlier this year, the St+Art India festival will be making Bengaluru its home for a month in October. The festival is being hosted by the Srishti School Of Art, Design And Technology in collaboration with BMRC (Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation), Asian Paints and Art in Transit student initiative.
It all started in 2015, when five youngsters with a dream to make art more accessible decided to get artwork on the streets. Not too happy with the reach of existing galleries, museums, and exhibitions, Akshat Nauriyal, Arjun Bahl, Giulia Ambrogi, Hanif Kureshi and Thanish Thomas started an initiative that brought artists from all around the world to come together and work for a single cause – helping people connect to art.
As co-founder Arjun Bahl says,
“India has a great landscape and we wanted to add colours to it. We also wanted to take art to the masses.”
By creating art hubs in unexpected spaces, the organization wants to offer newer experiences to diverse sections of the society, especially those who are usually excluded from the reach of art.
Through its urban arts festivals, St+art works to change the visual landscape of a city through performances, workshops, screenings and art interventions in public spaces, such as murals and installations. New Delhi welcomed the first edition of St+Art festival in February 2014, when urban villages like Shahpur Jat and Hauz Khas became the focal point of the growing street art scene in the capital.
In 2014, the festival continued with its second edition in Mumbai, converting places like Bandra, Peddar Road, Kandivali and Dharavi into stunning street art sites.
Thanks to community involvement and government support, these festival also saw the creation of the 150 feet tall Gandhi mural (the tallest in India) at the Police Headquarters in ITO in Delhi, the Dada Saheb Phalke mural (the largest in India) on the MTNL Building in Bandra Reclamation and the longest mural in India on the outer boundary of the Tihar Jail.
In the latest edition of the festival that was held in February 2016, St+art India Foundation brought artists from all schools and styles under one roof to transform Delhi’s Lodhi Colony into India’s first public art district.
Other significant city spaces, like the bustling Khan Market, Lado Sarai, Govind Puri Metro Station and the Inland Container Depot at Tughlakabad, were also transformed into hubs of pop culture and creativity.
The line-up at the festival included prominent street artists like Lady Aiko (Japan), 1010 (Germany), Okuda (Spain), Axel Void (US), Olek (Poland), DALeast (China), Paulo Ito(Brazil), Rukkit (Thailand), Samina (Portugal), Inti (Chile) and Anpu, PCO, Daku, Ranjit Dahiya, Harsh Raman, Yantr, Ruchin and Sam Sam from India.
The festival also addressed pertinent issues like women’s empowerment and the government-initiated Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) in an attempt to re-establish street art as a social and participatory activity.
Many of the city’s civic authoritie, such as DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation), DUISB (Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board) and PWD (Public Works Department), were roped in as project partners.
For instance, one of their projects focussed on Rain Baseraa (night shelters for the homeless in Delhi) with the objective of enhancing their visual appeal and also help give more visibility to the people who live in the shelters.
In one of the festival’s many unique projects, renowned street artist Olek wrapped little huts in Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan with colourful crocheted yarn.
The project witnessed the participation of over 60 women volunteers, who under the artist’s lead, prepared the elements of the installation over a period of three weeks. The imaginative artwork underscored the importance of respecting women’s rights, and their often overlooked but invaluable contribution to everyday household activities.
In another interesting project, French artist Chifumi brought to one of the walls his interpretation of the Indian hand gesture padma mudra, mixing it with the Khmer pattern from Cambodia.
In an attempt to shift the public gaze to unknown or lesser known spaces in the city, St+art also collaborated with the Container Corporation of India to transform the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Tughlakabad into a walk-through space for installations. The installations were created by 25 artists who used nearly 100 shipping containers and over 1,000 litres of paint to make them.
The month long street art show held at ICD (Asia’s largest dry port), ‘Work in Progress’ also became a venue for a range of different activities other than art, such as literary workshops, poetry slams, band performances, b-boy jams and more.
This October, the St+art urban arts festival will be in Bengaluru. Street artists from all over the world and from India will be descending on Bengaluru to paint the town red with their creative art works. Supported by Asian Paints and hosted by Srishti School of Art Design and Technology, in collaboration with Art in Transit, the month-long festival will also be organizing guided tours, workshops and live music events. So if you want to see some striking street art action this festive season, Bengaluru is where you should be!
Where: Across various venues in Bangalore
When: From October 1 to 30
Find St+art on Facebook here.
Check out St+art website here.