St+art India Foundation‘s latest project in Hyderabad has converted the M S Maqtha area into a popular open art district. Go for a photo-walk to capture interesting murals. By Radhika Sikaria

Opposite the popular People’s Plaza and the Hussein Sagar Lake, Maqtha is a neighbourbood that houses narrow lanes and modest houses. The streets here have no names. During the first art drive in 2016 in collaboration with [email protected] and Krishnakriti Foundaiton, St+art worked with artists to create a navigation system based on colours. The green, pink, yellow, and turquoise gullies of Maqtha soon became landmarks for the residents. The second edition in December 2018, saw the artists create more detailed wall art that engaged the residents.

Situated next to the Hussain Sagar, Maqtha was one of the greenest area in Hyderabad, a fertile ground which was used for agriculture. In the piece @saadhux associated the name of the lake with an imaginary poet giving him the feature of a primitive looking character whose face takes on the characteristics of the masks (Nazar Battu) that are found outside the houses in Maqtha to ward off bad omens. The personification of the lake gives birth to the geometric patterns of the tree that stands central in the composition reimagining the lost past greenery of Maqtha. The colourful and cluttered chaos that characterises the piece with additional elements such as calligraphy resonate with the hustle of the layered concrete architecture and the multicultural nature of Maqtha. 📸 @pranavgohill Festival proudly supported by @asianpaints @krishnakriti_foundation @kalakritiartgallery #asianpaints #startindia #starthyd #maqthaartdistrict"

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The artists involved in the transformation of the district are Delphine Delas (France), SadduX (Nepal), Raghav Balla (Bangalore, India), Swathi VIjai (Hyderabad, India), Hoozinc (Hyderabad, India), Varun Vedavyas (Hyderabad, India), Harit Puram (Hyderabad, India). St+art also organises workshops and street-walks in the area.

Adopting a sketch-like approach, @hoozinc_graffiti tried to reimagine the entire green gully in Maqtha Art District in ways to bring the inside to the outside, dissolving the boundary between the real and the imaginary. Hoozinc worked with the residents of about 8 houses, painting them all around to reimagine their spaces. The artists brought out the wishes and identities of the residents with elements such as flower pots hanging outside of the balconies, ornate railings and street side benches. This artwork creates a unique interaction with the residents and the passers-by, incorporating them in the image when standing in the balcony or sitting on the seps of a house. 📸 @pranavgohill Festival proudly supported by @asianpaints @krishnakriti_foundation @kalakritiartgallery #asianpaints #startindia #starthyd #maqthaartdistrict

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“Through this public art project, we hope to uplift the neighbourhood and create an impact in everyone’s lives. I’d like to add that art also activates new dynamics in areas by bringing people from different sectors of society together and in this sense, the public art project in Hyderabad is going to break boundaries through the medium of art.” Giulia Ambrogi, Co-Founder & Festival Curator, St+art India Foundation remarked.

Over the past three years, the foundation has brought around an urban art movement in India, by organising six St+art festivals and public art projects in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. It aims to make art accessible to all without caging it in four walls and embedding it in the cityscape.