The writing’s on the walls

Street art movement “The Wall Project” is killing two birds with one stone, revamping the city landscape and providing a platform for expression on social issues.

Author Anna Rees, 01.23.13

Street art movement “The Wall Project” is killing two birds with one stone, revamping the city landscape and providing a platform for expression on social issues.

The dilapidated walls and decaying movie posters that dot around some of the city streets make for a rather dystopian backdrop. A few years ago, a group of artists decided to reclaim a part of Mumbai public space as their own, painting murals along a 1.4 km stretch of wall and effectively launching what is now known as the Wall Project.

The murals blanket almost half of Tulsi Pipe Road, one of Mumbai’s main arterials and not only represent a beautification process of the local area, but point to a groundswell of grassroots interest in social issues and urbanisation. The murals address themes such as corruption, poverty, inequality and community life and act as an outlet for people looking to have their voices heard about issues that matter to them.

Globally speaking, street art’s power has peaked in cities among demographics who‘d grown fed up with conventional means of expressing an opinion. Marginalised youth took to the subways in the ‘80s in New York City, “bombing” empty trains and carving a creative niche for themselves. The Berlin Wall was cluttered with graffiti in the lead up to its fall as residents of both East and West Berlin hit the streets to voice opinions about the draconian nature of a city divided.

Now, as India finds itself in a similar state of flux and transformation on the road to development, it seems a small but growing number of people are putting pen to wall and gradually demonstrating that the public space is theirs.

The team behind the project had the permission of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation to go ahead, meaning the artists didn’t have to play the usual duck-and-weave many street artists do in order to not get caught vandalising public property.

The Wall Project has expanded to a number of other areas throughout the country and the team is open to contributions from other artists who wish to get involved, including travelers visiting from overseas.

Check out their Facebook page for pictures, highlights and updates and take a virtual walk down Tulsi Pipe Road with this video:

Author: Anna Rees/ RESET editorial

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