Clare Arni’s photographs of Bangalore streets juxtapose the many murals and the city’s people
Even while weaving through the Bangalore traffic, it is impossible to miss the murals that add a touch of vibrancy to the road. And Clare Arni makes these murals a backdrop for her photographs in the exhibition “Street Spaces” that captures life on the streets of Bangalore.
“I’m basically looking at how citizens use street spaces for celebration. I started by shooting small festivals celebrated by different communities and slowly I realized that there is lack of public space for celebration and so people have to spill out onto the streets,” explains the city-based photographer. .
She captures nuns, priests and devotees praying on the streets, a roadside idol of Mother Mary with baby Jesus, women celebrating the Indian goddess, Devi in their yellow saris, faces smeared with turmeric, or families out on the streets during Ramzan.
Clare also photographs life on the streets for street vendors, as their daily lives takes them to or through these murals.
Flower vendors with their baskets of bright yellow and orange sell their wares in front of a temple mural. And a man on a two-wheeler rides past a wall painted with flowers and butterflies with tree-mulch lying on the pavement.
The murals then become a sort of virtual reality simply by the presence of the characters, who are, quite unknowingly, going about their daily lives.
“A lot of people who visited the exhibition ended up chuckling at the photographs, since there’s also a sense of fun in the juxtaposition of the murals against the action in the frames. I wanted the show to be a joyous celebration of Bangalore as city life unfolds against the backdrops,” adds Clare. The exhibition is also her commentary on the dwindling street space – through her lens, she also draws attention to the increasingly difficult lives of the street vendors for whom carrying out daily trade is becoming unviable due to pavement clearance.
Still, these wall paintings are an integral part of the spirit of celebration, which in some way is always present in the spirits of its occupants as she shows in her photographs of the garlanded and lit-up Mother Teresa mural or in the faces of the street-side chefs.
“Street Spaces” will be on till December 21 at Gallery Five Forty Five, 6th Main, Indira Nagar II. Call 9036001081.