The idea behind creating a separate art district in the city is to democratise the way art is viewed and make it accessible to all.

Red Gully Yellow Street and Pink Road Welcome to Hyderabads official art district
news Street Art Monday, December 18, 2017 - 18:59

Reds, greens, blues, jewel tones, bright neons, stylized faces, birds, animals – it’s all there in Hyderabad’s MS Maqta.

The locality, that lies near the Raj Bhavan and Hussain Sagar Lake, was recently declared the city’s art district in a bid to boost the city’s image and attract more tourists.

The streets of MS Maqta are ‘colour-coded’ – each street has been designated a specific colour that artists can use. So there is a green gully, a boulevard of blues, a pink pathway and a red road.

“Earlier, streets here didn’t really have names and people would identify where they were based on the shops. Now each road has its own identity,” says Azeem, a resident of Maqta’s Yellow Gully.

He adds that ever since the art district came into being, the area has been swarming with photographers and artists.

“The art has created a very warm atmosphere here,” laughs Azeem, pointing to a bright mural above us.

The compound wall of Esther Rani’s house in Pink Gully now sports a giant pigeon carrying a tiffin box.

“Children love this painting. They always stop in front of it on their way to school or tuition. It is funny because the pigeon resembles them, with their bags and tiffin boxes,” laughs Esther Rani.

The project saw 38 artists, including two international artists – Delphine Delas from France and Sadhu X from Nepal – taking part in it. Eight Hyderabad-based artists were part of the initiative.

The art district was conceived by ST+ART foundation, a public art-works company based in Delhi, in association with Telangana tourism and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.

Revantika, coordinator at ST+ART, says that convincing the residents was their first major hurdle in the project. “Ninety-eight per cent of the residents here are Muslim and they opposed the depiction of any figures … But when we showed them the kind of art we did, they came on board.”

The project kicked off in 2016 with the compound walls opposite People’s Plaza being painted.

“The intent of the project is to ensure people take ownership of their walls and claim their own spaces … Plus, this art may deter people from peeing on the walls or staining them with gutka,” Revantika. “But more than anything, art is democratic and it should be accessible to all.”

Revantika terms the inclusion of international artists as a “cultural exchange”. “We are creating a dialogue. They view subjects very differently from the way we do … So it is interesting.”

Locals are quite thrilled with the attention MS Maqta is receiving.

“Since so many people have come to view the art, we are now confident that the civic issues of the area will be taken up on priority,” says Raheem, from Blue Chowk.

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