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Shillong Street Art 2018- Because Art is not Vandalism!

By Shubham Bhowmick | April 24, 2018

Art has always been the subject of interpretation since its very inception. In accordance with the message that art portrays, it is further divided into various sub-groups or genres. And Shillong happens to be a city which hosts the most number of artists and their consequent art forms. From musicians, to painters, to writers; we got all the talents here in this vibrant city.

In recent years, the most popular form of emerging art form in the city happens to be graffiti. Although, the state government had tagged earlier graffiti as vandalism, it is starting to acknowledge this activity as an actual form of art in the recent years.

Graffiti has been a way for the young artists of the city to express their feelings towards the reality in which they have been living. There are some graffiti painted on the city walls, mostly in areas such as Laitumkhrah, Police Bazaar, and some of them seem worn out. In the earlier times, the wall-art seen around the city mostly hosts’ revolutionary expressions by a group called “the small axe”.

However an event called the Shillong Street Art Fest (SSAF) inspired artists from in and around the city to make art-oriented murals in the streets of Dhankheti and lower Lachumiere. It was an initiative with the primary goal of the artist, popularly known as Yantr in collaboration with other artists, in organizing the Shillong Street Art fest (SSAF) to bring the movement of public art to Shillong, North East India and open it to the global art scene. The SSAF was also co-organized by CSAC- Can’t stop Art and Craft.

Along with some artists from around the country, most of the murals that have been published in this article have been created by aspiring young artists from Shillong and from around the country. The mural of the boy and the plant which is present in Dhankheti streets for public display was painted by one of the first woman graffiti artist of India, and her name is Anpu Varkey. She is among the popular female graffiti artists of India and her signature graffiti happens to be a cat which can be seen in Shillong and different parts of the country she visited.

In the recent years, art has truly evolved from a very narrow range of genres to a wide variety of art forms- from modern to traditional. Each of these two aspects of art need to be preserved and encouraged through the masses. And graffiti being the most unconventional or raw form of art, it is rapidly rising as the most appreciated form of modern art.


About the contributor:  Shubham Bhowmick is a student of Mass Media department Department, St. Anthony’s College and can be reached at sbhowmick955@gmail.com

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