Friday, July 28, 2017

Art for a Cause

I had written a post a couple of years back about street art focussed on road repairs, that would draw the attention of politicians and bureaucrats. This was in the city of Yekaterinburg in Russia:

Something similar seems to be happening in our Indian cities as well. There is a rich mix of potholes, manholes, open drains, litter and debris in Indian cities to provide creative minds a canvas.

Some artists are using the opportunity to make a small contribution, make citizens and bureaucrats more aware, and raise the aesthetic quotient of the city!

Here is Indian artist Badal Nanjundaswamy's work around a pothole in Bangalore, drawn like the mouth of Yama, the God of death.

In Mumbai recently, a woman biker lost her balance trying to avoid one such pothole. She got crushed to death as she came under the wheels of a truck in the process.

The event sparked an outrage in Mumbai and in the rest of the country.
But not much else happens.....

Maybe Mumbai citizens need to invite Nanjundaswamy from Bangalore!

Here is another one of the artist's works.
He is also called the "crocodile artist" because of the ease with which he draws crocodiles in a three dimensional fashion.

Nanjundaswamy is in fact rather good at street art, drawn with a three-dimensional view of animals.

Some examples with elephants and peacocks, other favourites of his, are given here.

Apart from making pedestrians stop in their tracks with the 3-D compositions, Nanjundaswamy has been able to get the city authorities to take heed on long due repairs.

For example, a drawing of a spider web really brought the point home for this manhole, and it got duly covered.

We are used to see various construction materials related to roads, overhead bridges, pavements or plant-holders just strewn around the road. There is never a thought about the user on the rad.

One such pile of road dividers lying around in its usual fashion got fixed with this unusual composition by Nanjundaswamy.

(All pics from:

Street artists of Mumbai, take note!

There is a lot of work to be done to showcase all the potholes around.

Mumbai citizens have started uploading photographs of the more "arty" potholes, hoping for some action.

Here is one opportunity: ten manholes, all with varying sizes and textures!

(Pic of Mumbai manhole from:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Something in the Stars

A song from the blockbuster Hindi movie "Kabhie Kabhie" had this hugely popular song:

".....Kabhie kabhie mere dil mein khayal aata hai
Oftentimes this thought crosses my mind

Ki jaise thujhko banaya gaya hai mere liye
That you were born just for me

Tu ab se pehle staaron mein bas rahi thi kahin

You lived somewhere in the stars before...."

Pic from the movie "Pakeezah"
And in another popular song from the movie Pakeezah, the heroine sings to her lover:

"...Chalo dildaar chalo; Chaand ke paar chalo
Let us go my beloved; Let us go beyond the moon

Hum hai tayaar chalo; 

I am ready

Aao kho jaaye sitaaron mein kahin; Chhod de aaj yeh duniya yeh zameen
Let us get lost in the stars; Let us leave this world and this land..."

(Translations of songs from fan clubs!)

This theme about coming to life on earth from the stars and getting merged with the stars again recurs often in folk tales, songs and movies.

Well, now it is official! Turns out, 50 per cent of the atoms in our body do come from stars across the universe!

Every time a star dies, it bursts out in the form of a huge "Supernova" spewing out tons of gases into the universe. The explosion gives rise to high speed galactic winds which ferry the particles in the gases across galaxies.

I had once seen the images of the "Butterfly Supernova", so called because of its form, on one of the NASA sites.

The image stayed with me. The idea of a giant butterfly of hot gases hurtling through space was awesome, and inspired me to compose the painting below.

Clearly, "...there are more things in heaven and earth, .....Than are dreamt of!...."

30" by 30", Oil on canvas by Mita Brahma