Officially Sanctioned Street Art On The Thoroughfares Of Bangalore

Published:  September 18, 2013
Officially Sanctioned Street Art On The Thoroughfares Of Bangalore

If you have had a moment to read through our September issue, you may have noticed the reported tension between graffiti and street art and the public spaces they occupy. As we explore the perspectives on legitimacy, mediation and popularity of street art, a city in India is facing similar issues.

Bengaluru’s (aka Bangalore) council has employed hundreds of artists, at 350 rupees a day, to paint the walls that run along the main roads of the city — a sprawling, chaotic city of over 5 million people.

Cities in India have previously used a ‘street art’ tactic to discourage urination along these public walls, by having the wall painted with a religious symbol, scene or god. Bengaluru has gone a step further with the enormity of the project, aimed at not only discouraging urinating and spitting upon the walls, but any defacing or dumping of garbage. The inherent belief in the level of respect the public have for the painted work is astounding.

But the images appearing of the walls appear tainted – amongst the Indian scenes, the vernacular of the local culture has been accompanied with odd Western representations of adventure, figures and icons of American culture used apparently without context or understanding. Also, local opposition to the project call the images ‘violent and kitsch’, claiming that the project encourages ‘only one kind of art’. Others have complained of the optical distractions they cause in tunnels and underpasses.

It is interesting that these legal, council-commissioned pieces officially ‘beautifying’ the main streets is causing tension amongst the local people, in a reversal of the traditional roles where the council is vehemently opposing the graffiti and street art of the local people.

Originally reported by Julie Fairless for Eye.
Images: Julie Fairless


One Response

  1. Such awesome artwork. We have something similar in Melbourne, but this is just out of this world.

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