Hyderabad gets its own ‘Art District’

Children playing in a street painted yellow under the Art District project of St+art India in MS Maqtha of Hyderabad.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

It is a colourful makeover for one of the most neglected parts of the city. It is Blue Chowk, Yellow Gully, Pink Gully at the MS Maqtha abutting Necklace Road station. While last year, artists from across the country and world painted the side facing Necklace Road, this year St+Art Foundation took the inner streets of Maqtha for a makeover.

At the entrance of MS Maqtha is the sign in black and white about the Art District. But it doesn’t prepare you for the riot of colour ahead.

A green wall that leads to a yellow lane or a different turn takes you to a blue square. All this in one of the must rundown areas of the city where sewage flows on the street, overhanging wires are the norm and where young boys zip around as if life is a motocross race.

But now, some of the streets have an identity and are easily navigable. It wasn’t all that easy.

One of the persons who initially opposed the project is Muhammad Sadiq Ali, who now proudly shows around the area to visitors. “Even foreigners are coming to see this. I opposed it worried about what they might draw and paint; after all this is my house,” he says pointing to his three-storeyed house. “I relented after speaking to the artists and their coordinator.

They showed me what will be drawn here and how the area will look like once it is finished. Now I am happy that I agreed to get this thing painted,” says Mr. Ali, who has a furniture workshop in the area.

“People of Maqtha, while being sceptical at the beginning, became extremely helpful and supportive. That’s also why we organised several workshops with them and in the public school of Maqtha.

They offered us food, chai and of course, their walls! And it has been a truly participative effort in which murals have been created by the artists thanks to their interaction with the inhabitants. Their stories, their desires came into many of the art pieces. Also, the kids of each gully we painted have been constantly with us. We discovered great young talents who painted with some of the artists,” says Giulia Ambrogi who has been the face of St+Art in Hyderabad.

“Maqtha Art District is the third art district in India after Lodhi Art District in Delhi and Mahim (E) Art District in Mumbai. The vision for the neighbourhood is to become a hub for contemporary art and a new area of interest of the city, while also being regenerated thanks to art interventions,” says the statement by St+Art India Foundation.

“We had a good time while working on the project. We did experimental morphing and it was better than last year’s experience,” says artist Kamesh Bhagatji.

Last year, Kamesh and Avinash had created a mural called reflection on the other side of the road.

“When people walk into the area and look around and click photographs, we feel proud. I want to keep the area clean like this. The place looks so much better,” says Muhammad Nawab, a resident.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 2:55:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hyderabad-gets-its-own-art-district/article22364607.ece

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