There were days when art was just another hobby to the rich aristocrats, who would discuss its nuances over some fine wine. But as times changed, art as a form has evolved from being confined to just four walls. From adorning the walls of great museums, it made its way to making a statement on the streets.
From the graffiti on the Berlin wall in Germany to the present works at Jalagam Vengal Rao park and Necklace Road, street art has now become a means to trigger a thought in the young minds or to drive home a message. For artists who are engaged with street art, it is a form of their expression. It breaks the shackles of the four walls and pushes itself to the forefront in the real world. And anytime a painting is done on a dirty and neglected wall, it speaks more than a beautiful painting hung inside a gallery.
Keeping with this spirit, Hyderabad-based street artists, Chandni Mathur and Nikhil Kapur who own Hoozinc store, say that street art is an expression in public spaces which reach out to a wider variety of audience. “It can last for a day or years, but the point is our message reaches people,” they share. Nikhil mentions that it is not just locked up within the four walls meant only for art enthusiasts or the elite. “In short, it is a medium of social change because it reaches a much larger audience,” says Chandni.
The rise of graffiti and mural art is a new development, and artists did not take much time to adopt or accept it. The smaller cities still need to get there, but the metros have absorbed it quickly. In fact, these walls are the canvasses for the artists to reach out to the public. Citing an example, Chandni recalls their experience about the superwomen on the walls opposite to Eat Street. She says people were surprised to see a woman clad in superman clothes and, soon, a lot of people gathered and started guessing what it could be. “It was stencil graffiti done about how every woman is a superwoman in her own way,” she shares.
This movement is not just confined to individuals. Even GHMC is turning its attention towards street art. With a strong intention to beautify the city, GHMC is coming up with innovative ideas. Recently, in collaboration with JNAFAU students, they did a beautiful art work and, last year, as part of the Street Art Festival, many street artists have done colourful illustrations with some strong message.
One among them is Sayyam Bharat who shares that walls in the street are misused for different purposes. But, art uses it for a better purpose — to enable the public to read between the lines in order to understand social issues, environment issues and issues related to the society. “My social message is ‘Pray for tomorrow’ which denotes how our domestic animals suffer due to road widening, constructions, barbed wires, etc. “These confused animals are often seen eating plastic near dustbins and suffer from health hazards. My message to the public is to live in peace with flaura and fauna,” he concludes.
As members of a socially-conscious art movement, these street artists are becoming the torchbearers for a huge change.