Take a tour of this artist-decorated neighborhood in Bangalore
BENGALURU, India – In Malleshwaram, one of the oldest planned neighborhoods in Bangalore, India, a magnificent street art project attempts to make the area pedestrian. The project, called Malleshwaram Hogona (âLet’s go to Malleshwaramâ), was started by Bengaluru Moving, which advocates for sustainable mobility across the city. It was organized in collaboration with the local artist collective Geechugalu, the town planning organization Sensing Local, Malleshwaram Social (an association for the well-being of residents) and volunteers.
It’s not common to see street art in a traditional neighborhood like Bangalore, and what stands out from this art tour is how local stories have seamlessly integrated into the in situ works: flowers of local sampige decorating a wall; âMalleshwaramâ written boldly in English and Kannada and filled with locally identifiable visual cues; a woman from Malleshwaram drinking filter coffeeâ¦ Some works have been integrated into the houses themselves, breathing new life into the facade. Others appeared on the walls of institutions and in the middle of the bustling flower market.
Just before the city closed in April 2021, 13 artists created 12 works of art for the company. During a presentation of all the artwork, Yash Bhandari, Creative Manager of Geechugalu, explained the inspiration behind each artist’s mural, the history of Malleswaram and the future of this project.
âAs locals, we know the sensitivities and caste, language and political dynamics of each region. We have come as creators of creative places to make Malleshwaram accessible through art and design, âYash shares. When Bengaluru Moving approached Geechagalu for the project, Yash came up with the idea of ââa narrative journey that aligns with the campaign’s walking agenda. “Street art really helps reimagine what a place can look like and what has the most impact, because many of us are more visual than analytical.”
As the walking tour unfolded, each of the candidate artists presented a rough idea to Geechagalu. Based on sketches, the ideation process began. âWe didn’t give the artists a theme because we believe in process, not pre-design. It was more about living in a site and letting ideas emerge from their experience, âadds Yash. The actual works were created within 10 days of Bengaluru’s two-month lockdown with the help of volunteers.
Yash and Shreevyas, both artists from Geechugalu, wandered Malleshwaram for weeks while preparing for the project. Finding the right places, Yash and community manager Hari helped get the permits and went to every house they wanted to paint the facade with a letter of support from all authorities. âBefore we started working on them, these spaces were neglected, discolored and used for parking or for dumping garbage,â Yash shares, adding that the backdoors were also designed by castes, being located along the systems of sewers and intended only for workers of lower castes. .
There was no official opening or inauguration of the tour, as the artistic course was created in backlanes, open to the public. The entire Art Walk is 1.7 kilometers (approximately one mile) and can be explored using an illustrated map of Maanvi Kapur Street Art Trails, which highlights the sensory experience of walking in the secret alleys of Malleshwaram.
The success of the art journey can already be seen in the reactions of members of the Malleshwaram community, who watched the artists work, offered coffee, took selfies with the artwork, and encouraged the artists to paint more walls at home. ‘to come up. âWe would guide the curious audience even during the painting phase and show them where to go to see the next mural in progress,â says Yash.
Geechagalu plans to crowdfund the next series of murals in Malleshwaram, separate from the Malleshwaram Hogona initiative. In fact, the next phase will be entirely managed by young volunteers and local artists under the mentorship of Geechugalu, informs Yash, in order to enable knowledge sharing and democratize the creative process. To make the artistic journey more visible, signs will be placed in the form of QR codes by Bengaluru Moving and virtual tours will be organized by Gully Tours and Bengaluru Moving.
Let us take you virtually on the Malleshwaram Hogana Walk and introduce you to the work of each artist.
Greetings from Malleshwaram by Saksham Verma
At the BMTC bus station, a typographic mural by Saksham Verma captures the different facets of âMalleshwaramâ using the letters of its name. Inside “M” it portrays delicious dosas found in every nook and cranny of Malleshwaram; in âAâ, it shows motorists wandering in the area; in ‘L’ he uses floral designs, a nod to the popular flower markets of Malleshwaram. Showcasing local food to filter coffee to the nearby lake, its playful mural stands out in both English and Kannada.
Svagata by Girija hariharan (2 flat brush)
Making its debut in public art, Girija Hariharan’s magnificent wall fresco appears in the alleys of a typical Malleshwaram house, known as conservation lanes, and acts as a setback Svagata (Welcome). It alludes to the region’s class and caste dynamics, hinting that you’re welcome or not depending on who you are. The work represents torana, a garland made of mango leaves and marigold flowers, often hung on doorways on auspicious occasions.
Once upon a time there was a tree next to it Chandana BV
A superb ode to the sampige trees of Malleshwaram, the work of Chandana BV attempts to capture the nostalgia of these plants which disappear from the roads. The artist was inspired by her father, who brought home his deeply scented flowers from each visit to Malleshwaram.
The sparrows of Malleshwaram by Spandana Vella
Spandana Vella’s mural lovingly depicts the loss of the sparrows of Malleshwaram. As a ceramist, Spandana also creates pots for the endangered population of sparrows to drink water, which will be placed on the wall.
Kaapi Kudithiya by Enoch Dheeraj Ebenezer
Filter coffee is the pride of Malleshwaram; the scent of chicory often hangs in the air. Enoch’s first mural of a Ajji (lady) pouring coffee captures her love for filter coffee, the quintessential Bangalore experience.
Pourakarmika by Parameshwar Waran
Powerful and hyper-realistic mural, Parameshwar Waran pays homage to the pourakarmikas (waste separators) from Malleshwaram. He paints a portrait of Narayanamma, who works in the conservation alley. Responsible in silence for the cleanliness of the premises, the pourakarmikas are the early morning workers who maintain the streets.
In his stride Anpu varkey
One of the more experienced artists on the project, Anpu Varkey took less than two days to create her mural, which depicts the stride of a sari-clad woman on her daily commute to Malleshwaram. This iconic mural captures the essence of the countryside – to make Malleshwaram passable – and shows women reclaiming public spaces as they walk. It appears on the wall of Seva Sadan, an important cultural space ruled mainly by women.
Gejjeya nada by Shreevyas
In Doraiswamy Iyengar Street, named after the famous Carnatic musician, Shreevyas performs with colors and patterns taken from Indian classical music and dances like the hand mudras, eyes and instruments. Merging the traditional and the modern, Shreevyas’s mural is aptly located on the walls of Seva Sadan, a space for cultural performances.
Malleshwaram at a glance by Meghana Yeri and Dhanush Kiran
This mural being developed by a couple of local artists from Malleshwaram is a map based on public nostalgia and memory of Malleswaram’s natural biodiversity, such as its sampige, neem and mahogany trees. The wall strategically leads directly to the flower market.
Post it! by Abhijeet Rao
Located near the post office in Malleshwaram, this work plays with the idea of ââa postcard from the future of Malleshwaram, which arrived through the post office and on the wall. The time-traveling postcard reminds us to pause and reflect.
Sakkare kaddi by Shivu Mahesh
Sculptor by profession, the mural by Shivu Mahesh is a tribute to methai gadiyara, the neighborhood hawkers who create watches, toys and all kinds of shapes from taffy, to the delight of children. A common sight in Malleshwaram, the mural induces a nostalgia for the old charm of Malleshwaram and the joys of childhood.
Put the mull in Malleshwaram by Amitabh Kumar
Amitabh Kumar’s final and larger-scale work of art spans the walls on both sides of a hidden conservation route. The immersive site-specific artwork emerged as a fluid process, the artist whitewashing the walls, then playing with light and shadow as they fell on the facade, and creating lines with a lazy color. times. This resulted in an almost psychedelic space with layers of lines, shapes, movements and colors. The idea is to use the reserve as a recreation site for the elderly.
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