Spanning mainly across Bandra, Dharavi and Versova, the St+ART Mumbai festival captures the spirit of the city, continuing the endeavour started by the Wall Project, and distilling it to introduce concepts and mediums of street art through a selection of Indian and international artists including old favourites: Anpu, Amitabh Kumar, Bond, Bollywood Art Project (BAP) and new ones: Tika, Daan Botlek, Tona, with workshops, community projects, graffiti jams and of course, giant painted walls.
The St+ART Mumbai Festival began on 7 Nov, with a public screening at the Carter Road Amphitheatre to introduce the concept of Street Art to the public. Supported by stickering, graffiti, typography and stencil workshops by festival Creative Director, Hanif Kureshi and invited artists Anpu, Ano, Bond and others. It continued to take over some key locations, such as the Jindal Mansion at Peddar Road, with Filthy Luker's inflatable monster and the Versova Metro Station, along with the large MTNL building facade and other spaces all across Bandra West and in Dharavi, going well over the end date of 30 November, as the walls just kept coming. The festival culminated with a graffiti jam which saw many young volunteers stealing wall space from the artists to leave their tags.
Read on as we take you through some of the walls.
Pali village was the first set of walls, more pedestrian friendly interventions, which people can notice walking through its sleepy, winding lanes. We began at Hawaiian Shack, whose side wall is canvas to Amitabh Kumar’s "much-much". It's absolutely fun watching this former comic-book maker take on more Mumbai walls with his signature line-work. Check out his limited edition tee here and read more on him here.
Amitabh Kumar works on "much-much" in Pali Village, while interacting with passers by.
Anpu Varkey's signature cat mural, meshes perfectly with Swiss artist TiKA THEK's reed pond to make an adorable addition to Pali Village.
Anpu and Nora (Germany) work together to bring Mumbai's reclaimed shores into Pali Village with their piece "Tetrapods".
Guwahati based graffiti artist Yantr (whose name means machine) gets mechanical atop a garage.
Twenty points for each Bond tag you can spot across the city — from Borivali to Churchgate (and nope we're not saying how many there are!).
German artist Tofu is the guy who can't stop painting walls. He's been to the city before, and you'll see his rainbow murals in Dharavi and along the Western Railway lines.
In the sleepy urban village of Chimbai, Daan Botlek's (The Netherlands) "Continental Drift", which speaks of the struggles of man, on Aseema Public School, run by the NGO Aseema Foundation. Daan's work often features humanoids working together to get things done, and often speaks of hope and togetherness. In Chimbai are also examples of Seikon (Poland) and TONA + Notes (Germany) collaborations.
Daan Botlek's impressive "Continental Drift" eggs on students from Aseema School in Chimbai Village.
A Tona and Notes collaboration
On Manuel Gonsalves Road, the facade of the St. Joseph Primary and Kindergarten School is given grace by Inkbrushnme’s mythical design in conjunction with Polish artist Seikon’s more geometric, and entirely abstract panel. The juxtaposition offsets two different styles of abstract work against each other: Inkbrushnme's more fluid composition that uses Indian mythology to communicate, while Seikon's lines and planes give a sense of structured minimalism.
St. Joseph's is given a makeover by Seikon (left panel) and Inkbrushnme (right panel).
Anpu also did a solo wall on Hotel Bandra Residency near Bandra Station (West), pulling off quite a departure from her earlier murals, with Squeeze. The mural, featuring a custard apple, is Anpu’s interpretation of Mumbai, a city that is outwardly hard, and sweet and mushy on the inside.
From sketch to final piece, Anpu's "Squeeze" presents Mumbai as a custard apple.
On Bandra's busy, busy Hill Road is Taiwanese superstar Ano's blue elephant. Ano took over the facade of Vienna Stores, breathing new life into this old and dilapidated building in the form of a happy, blue elephant decorated with 8-bit flowers. Check out his intervention at the Mt. Mary Steps right near the KS Studio.
Amazing ANO at work, from Vienna Stores to the Mt. Mary Steps
Up ahead through Waroda Road and Ranwar Village one sees a lot of Tona. The German artist expands his presence from Delhi to Mumbai with his signature photo-real stencils of street kids sneaking onto you from nooks and crannies.
Tona's stencils culminate in a giant mural of a boy hugging a rainbow at the Supari Tank School.
Coming Home by Dome (Germany) stands tall, taking over the entire façade of the Diamond Arch building (near Starbucks) is this huge mural combining all the things Dome saw in the time he spent here: fishermen, delivery boys on cycles and the long working hours of many in the city, with his signature style of stenciled body parts.
Dome’s Coming Home, from outline to completion
Down the road from Hotel Rangsharda, is Swiss artist TIKA THEK’s amazing (and really, really massive) wall of the New Friends Building. The Swiss artist works site-specifically, meeting locals and residents as she paints, incorporating thoughts that come out of her conversation with them.
In this building she embodies the spirit of Bandra: A place inhabited by people from different places, practicing different religions, living together. Her mural shows a large group of animals co-existing on the wall of New Friends, including the endangered tiger and India’s national bird, the Peacock. TiKA and her completed work that stands for people from different backgrounds living together.
TiKA THEK's wall in progress at the New Friends Building, Bandra Reclamation
Magma, curated by Giulia Ambrogi, brings street art into gallery walls. Vol I was at Jude Bakery in Bandra.
The exhibition, Magma I, breathes life into a Bandra landmark from another era, the Bakery, functional and frequented till about half a dozen years ago, when the owner died and the bakery was shut down. For one month this year, Jude Bakery opens up again to house not baked goods but street art and techniques, which the artists apply to indoor walls and paper works. The exhibition continued with a more distilled form at Upadrastha House in Kala Ghoda, the fine art district becoming home to some amazing street art.
Portuguese artist aka Corleone adds colour to the building formerly known as Jude Bakery.
A resident walks past aka Corleone's revamp of the Jude Bakery façade.
Photo Credit: Thomas Meyer
Gomez uses the side of Jude Bakery to create an incredible oil-on-canvas style mural.
Photo Credit: Phalguni Desai
The Kulture Shop X St+Art collaboration on display
Photo Credit: Kunal Anand
The second part of the exhibition was at Upadrastha House, Kalaghoda.
The Kala Ghoda exhibition included works by several of the artists including the above by Daku. Magma Vol. II took the initiative to Bombay's art district, Kala Ghoda. Slightly bigger than Jude Bakery, Upadrastha House currently has works by Daan Botlek, Bond, Tyler, Tona and many more.
Pictured above is Daku's work title Temporarycon.
Lastly, we'd be remiss not mentioning The Big One — St+ART MUMBAI's 125 ft x 150 ft tribute to the city's famous film industry, depicting the Father of Indian Cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke, a Mumbaikar who first explored the magic of cinema in India. The mural was done by Bollywood Art Project founder Ranjit Dahiya, helped on by Yantr, Munir and Nilesh.
An aerial view of the 120 foot mural on the MTNL Bandra building
Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan inaugurated the MTNL mural.
Thanks to the St+ART team for putting together such a fantastic festival that gave our city a much-needed facelift. Looking forward to the next edition in Delhi, in Jan 2015!
*All images courtesy Akshat Nauriyal/St+ART India Foundation, unless otherwise mentioned.