Hyderabad

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Art Districts

Maqtha Art District

2016

It was during its sixth edition that the St+art Festival arrived in the city of Hyderabad for the first time, and set the roots for the country’s second open-air public art district in the city’s MS Maqtha neighbourhood.

Lying on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, the Maqtha neighbourhood is an urban village which stands as an anomaly of sorts compared to its surroundings. Courtesy its location on the banks of the city’s iconic lake, the neighbourhood is prime real-estate; yet it exists today as an urban village with neglected structures and cramped living spaces. However, with a vibrant living ethos, Maqtha is home to an extremely close-knit community which has a strong self-dependent nature of living and working. The region also hosts many domestically run shops which explore the crafts of block-printing and saari-making.

For the 2016 festival - our first in the area (and the city), Maqtha hosted 5 international and 6 Indian artists to create artworks in and around the locality. By the end of the project, the area was home to a walk-through art district open for all, additions to which were made during subsequent editions of the festival in the city - with more than 16 artists creating artworks in 2017 and three international artists adding their pieces in 2019.

2016

Upon our first visit to the area, we were awestruck by the spectacle of its buildings. They breathed in compact arrangements, and when viewed together looked like pieces in a standing jigsaw puzzle. The lineup artists started work for the art district on these very large buildings, excited about the potential this key location in the Hyderabad cityscape had to offer. The diverse mix experimented to create a fresh dialogue with the local populace, finding themselves a most engaging and receptive audience.

Line-up artists included:

Alber | Nilesh | Do & Khatra | Daan Botlek | Artez | Nikola | Swathi & Vijay | Sattired | Avinash and Kamesh

2017

We returned to Maqtha the following year - in 2017, with a bigger list of lineup artists to build the art district further.

Because of its lack of signage, navigating the dense area had proved to be a challenge in the previous year. In 2017, we took permissions to color-code the area, in turn erecting a sturdy method of navigating its sometimes confusing lanes. Color-coding the walls helped us deliver a way of easy navigation for people not native to the locality with an added element of ‘emotional navigation’ for the locality’s residents.

Walls in different blocks of the region were painted in basic colours - green, blue, yellow and pink, that allowed them to be christened afresh: going forward, these alleyways came to be referred as the Green Gully, the Blue Gully, the Turquoise Gully, the Pink Gully and the Yellow Gully respectively. Artists created works in these ‘gullies’, in sync with their base colours. Some artists took inspiration for their pieces from stories and sights exclusive to Maqtha, while others engaged with pertinent social realities of the day - depicting themes ranging from rapid urbanisation to the concept of ‘being human without humanity’.

Line-up artists included:

Delphine Dellas | Daksha | Nandita Ratan | Raghav | Hoozinc | Harith Puram | Swathi & Vijay | Shiv & Ranga | Sundar Sukka | Karuna Sukka | Saadhu X | Varun Vedvyas | Abhedya Bhagwan | Avinash Kamesh | Ritika Thalla

2019

In 2019, to continue building the public art gallery, we returned to the area with three international artists, including Rouge from France, Ness Lee from Canada and Manolo Mesa from Spain.

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