Hyderabad

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Art Districts

Maqtha Art District

2016

Lying on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad, the Maqtha neighbourhood is an urban village with fairly neglected structures and cramped living spaces despite being prime real-estate. With a vibrant living ethos, Maqtha is home to an extremely close-knit community with a strong, self-dependent nature of living and working. The region also hosts many domestic shops, which explore the crafts of block-printing and sari-making.

St+art arrived in the city of Hyderabad for the first time in 2016, to set roots for the country’s second open-air public art district in the city’s MS Maqtha neighbourhood.

For St+art Festival 2016, 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 3 international artists adding their pieces in 2019.

Upon our first visit to the Maqtha in 2016, we were awestruck by the spectacle of its buildings. They breathed in compact arrangements, and when viewed together, they looked like pieces in a standing jigsaw puzzle. The artists started work 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.

Daan Botlek - Taking the piss out of the guys taking a piss The mural featured Daan’s signature ‘man’ taking on the role of a urinator-tosser and throwing those found peeing on the walls below the building into the adjacent Hussain Sagar lake.
Artez- My presents are wrapped Inspired by Artez’s love for plants and the changing hues of sunrise when viewed from a height and from the ground. With the help of a team of energetic volunteers, the artwork was painted over a course of 8 days.
FOMO by Swathi Vijay Pranav Gohil 1
Swathi- FOMO Sought to convey that our life is hacked by technology - today, we see the world through mobile phones and the internet. Even in the off chance that we want to come out of it, we get stuck - like the boy whose leg is stuck.
COO by Sattired Akshat Nauriyal
Sattired - Coo A visual interpretation of her encounters with Maqtha - which is swarming with children and pigeons. It also referenced the Nawabi past-time of pigeon keeping, which she found was making a comeback with the youth of the city.
Avinash and Kamesh
Avinash & Kamesh - Reflection Conceptualised on the lives and atmosphere of the neighbourhood, final year university students Avinash & Kamesh (Gujarat, India) had painted in ‘Reflection’ a portrait of a local resident and his mentality towards his everyday work. The accompanying elements depicted the locality and things commonly sighted in and around the area.
UNUNSUAL USUAL by Do and Khatra Pranav Gohil
Nilesh Pranav Gohil
Nilesh In his piece, Pune-based artist Nilesh tried to inspect the part Irani Chai played in the social-landscape of Hyderabad. The mural made a comment on Irani Chai’s ability to unify and bring together various classes of people under one roof to discuss and debate pertinent topics of the day.
Nikola Mihajlović
Nikola Mihajlović- Untitled Nikola Mihajlović’s mural was a response to everything he experienced when on the streets of Hyderabad, from the heat and noise, to the vibrant colours of the city. It was a spontaneous composition, reflecting the chaotic nature of Hyderabad.
Jean Luc
Jean-Luc Feugeas French artist Jean Luc’s anamorphic work explores the merging of the abstract with the real through a monochromatic mural, which makes a coincidence between the artwork and its surroundings. Jean Luc is a researcher with a physics theory group at University in Bordeaux develops art projects based on geometric experiments.
Alber Akshat Nauriyal
Alber Alber (Bordeaux, France) over the years has developed a practice wherein he paints portraits of people in different parts of the world. These faces and profiles, painted in his distinct colours, lines and style have become Alber’s tokens dispersed throughout the world. They leave a distinct mark of his presence in the visited areas, as if his artworks, everywhere, at all times are silent observers of the happenings of the various neighbourhoods.

BOUNDARY WALL TEXT

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

Anila Kumar Pranav Gohil
Anila Kumar Anila Kumar's two faces can revolt you at first sight. They seem to be spewing a multitude of elements at one another. But on a closer look, you realize that it's a colossal exchange of thoughts, ideas, memories and even vices. Anila's graphic representation of a connection between two people uses a colour palette that represents the chaos between its characters
Priyanka Aelay Pranav Gohil
Priyanka Aelay "A bridge connects the people of this city with its flora and fauna. Unfortunately, the latter has gone from abundance to gradual extinction, depriving us of our nature. The co-existence though must be maintained. Through my artwork, I wanted to depict a common road and a riverside to talk about unity. The location meant that I could talk about the Hussain Sagar lake and the community path, which is used by plenty of civilians." - Priyanka Aelay
Anjenaya Pranav Gohil
Anjaneyalu Reddy Anjaneyalu is a homegrown artist from Andhra Pradesh. His work though has a very other-worldly touch to it. In this universe, eye balls are attracted to flowers. "The attraction between the flower and the eye balls is propelled by the brain. What I've depicted is entirely subjective. Someone may feel it is real, some one may think it's entirely imagination. But what is surely is, is a surrealist piece."
Varun Pranav Gohil
Varun Veadvyas Varun chose to depict vintage illustrations drawn from a collection of old family photographs. With the objective of creating a nostalgic feeling, he wanted to highlight the contrast between the portraits of now and the bygone era.
Nirmala Biluka Pranav Gohil
Nirmala Biluka- Guns and Roses This isn't a tribute to the famous hard-rock band, it's what artist Nirmala Biluka's admires about her favourite women role-models, who mix strength and beauty seamlessly. Here, she painted a portrait of Chakali Ailamma, the peasant leader of the Telangana Rebellion.

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

Swatii and Vijay- Humanity Through their piece at the top of a tall building nested between the main market and the Mosque, artist duo Swati and Vijay brought attention to a crucial question: Are we merely human without humanity? Painted in a Trompé-l'œil technique, the richness of the gold, the patterns and the color palette insist on the beauty of what we are if we preserve humanity. Located in the heart of Maqtha, at a spot that sees a large number of passersby on a daily basis, with their piece the duo aimed to capture people’s attention and initiate conversations about how we behave.
Sundar Sukka Maqta Art District Reveals Pranav Gohil 2
Sundar Sukka- Untitled Inspired by the Islamic architecture and visuals found in the city of Hyderabad, artist paid homage to the city in his distinct visual style.
Ritika Thalla Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Rithika Thalla Located on the boundary wall of a government school, artist Rithika Thalla’s mural works with symbolism as its driving force. Trees symbolise a fresh start in life, positive energy, good health and a bright future. The children standing and dancing together depict unity among the locals who belong to diverse religions, and the birds depicted as books stand for the knowledge that gives one wings to achieve whatever they wish for in life.
SadhuX Calligraphed half-sunrise that says ‘garden of happy flowers’ in the Devanagari script was his gift to the people of Maqtha, who greeted him with smiles aplenty whenever he was in the area.

In 2017, St+art went back to Maqta entering in the neighbourhood and taking the approach of colour-coding the area, in turn erecting a sturdy method of navigating its sometimes confusing lanes. Colour-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’ that were 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’.

Nandita Maqta Art District Reveals Pranav Gohil 20

TURQUOISE GULLY

Daksha Turquoise Lane Reveals Pranav Gohil 18

YELLOW GULLY

Machli When Telangana-based artist Nandita Ratan first saw the Yellow Gully, to her it seemed like a long narrow tunnel that was closing in on her and it reminded her of aquariums. Recognising scope for detailed work that could be viewed from a close range, she painted the lane’s walls with floating jelly-fish like forms, in a piece she titled ‘Machli’. The artist sought to create a break from the monotony of everyday sightings in the region, while also trying to break the rigidity of the narrow alley.

GREEN GULLY

Hoozinc Native to Hyderabad, artist Hoozinc adopted a sketch-like approach for his work in the Green Gully. Adorning house walls with ordinary elements like flower pots hanging outside balconies, ornate railings, lamp posts and even a post box, he tried to blur the lines between physical-real and painted-real. House-owners contributed to Hoozinc’s work by helping him with feedback and requests to make additions of their liking.
Raghav Maqta Artdistrict Reveals Pranav Gohil 17
Raghav Bhalla- Bloom Delhi-based artist Raghav painted a mural where he created a play between line and coloUr. Immensely appreciative of forms, he integrated them into his work at Maqtha to depict its beautiful chaos.

BLUE GULLY

Hoozinc Blue Plaza Maqta Artdistrict Reveals Pranav Gohil 1
Hoozinc- The shadow wall This is located very close to the local school. Keeping in mind that many children would pass by the piece, the artist wanted to make it interactive, painting something that was relatable to both the young and old. The presence of geometric shadows in the work brings out new realism and gives it perspective. It was also an attempt to encourage children to imitate the shadow or make a paper boat, in turn enabling them to appreciate art and nature in seamless interaction with each other. To top it all, the drainage system of Maqtha is never under control, making it perfect for the duck and boat to swim in.
Harithpuram Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Harith puram - The Birds Nest Reading the phenomenon of growing urbanisation as a threat as opposed to a process of development and evolution, artist Harith Puram brings our attention to the damage done to local flora and fauna in its wake, using the motif of birds’ nests.
Delphine Delas- The Elemental Rays This French-artist painted around the Maqta Eidgah ground to depict an organic invasion of plants. The artist wanted to show nature taking its space back in our increasingly dense urban areas. The mural is reminiscent of Islamic art and its white and pink lines of perspective are shown pursuing the rays of the sun.
Varun Vedvyas -In the Heart of Maqtha Artist Varun Vedvyas painted gold on ultramarine blue to make his mural in the Blue Gully of Maqtha look more elegant when it shines in the sunlight. Adding a flair of royalness to the surroundings, he used the technique of Kufesque to imitate the Kufic script for a decorative purpose. Taking inspiration from the mazy streets of the neighbourhood, he painted his mural to also resemble a maze.
Shiva Rangaa Blue Chowk Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil 6
Shiv and Ranga- Juxtapose Instead of creating anything figurative, artist duo Shiv and Ranga tried to depict the element of surprise that had greeted them on their first visit to Maqtha. On the first look, because of their use of a false perspective, the piece looks like just a complex set of lines. On closer inspection however one can see paths going up, leading down, turning left and right, and sometimes heading nowhere, just like the neighbourhood. An actual curvy line has only been used once around the central white arch in the mural. It’s been done entirely with straight lines, designed to create the illusion of curves.
Abhedya Bhagwan-El Machina Working in a lane close to a school, artist Abhedya Bhagwan wanted to create something for the kids to enjoy. Keeping this in mind he animated all the machines and tools that the kids saw regularly in Maqtha, like the sofa workshop's staple guns, glue guns, and spray guns. He also included the non-regular but the most fascinating machine they saw during the festival - the boom lift in his mural.
Saadhu X Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil 3
SadhuX An abstract interpretation of the colourful chaos and vibrant hustle of the neighbourhood, where people of different beliefs come together to make Maqtha. The neighbourhood is located next to the Hussain Sagar Lake whose name Sadhu thought belonged to a poet. This prompted him to draw a primitive-looking character, made complete with a drawing of the mask he found hanging outside many homes (‘Nazar Battu’). He also composed geometric patterns to create a structure resembling a simple tree, to symbolise the vibrancy of life in Maqtha.
Avinash Kamesh Maqta Artdistrict Reveals Pranav Gohil 17
Avinash and Kamesh- Real Surreal Artists Avinash and Kamesh used visual metaphors to depict elements of experiencing life in Maqtha and Hyderabad. The mountains symbolise Hyderabad with its ups and downs; the galaxy points to the endless possibilities of life in Maqtha. The person diving in depicts a dive into a sea of culture, while the hen symbolises sunrise. The pigeon that’s been set free symbolises the region’s many overlapping cultural boundaries.

PINK GULLY

Swathi Vijay Pink Lane Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil 3
Swathi & Vjay - Safety Pins While perusing the streets of the neighbourhood, artist duo Swathi & Vijay observed a lot of bonhomie amongst its residents. However, they also noticed the presence of overt discrimination against migrants/tenants in the colony - a trait common to developing urban cities. Their safety pins were then to act as binders between different kinds of people in the different homes of Maqtha.
Karuna Sukka- 'Untitled' This piece is a comment on the loss of environment that’s being incurred to give way to an urban concrete jungle. Her mural serves us a reminder to make nature a bigger part of our lives by planting more trees and flowers around ourselves and the city.
Harithpuram Pink Lane Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Harith Puram Artist Harith Puram pushed his artistic style by using an impressionistic technique to show the face of a happy and playful child. Upside-down, amidst a background of greens, Puram’s child tries to remind us of the simple act of 'smiling' and the importance of maintaining that in the lives of children.
Shiva Rangaa Pink Lane Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Shiv and Ranga Facing a delay in the execution of their planned mural, artists Shiv and Ranga created a quick impromptu work for the Pink Gully. Composed of elements inspired by popular visuals in the locality, their animated school-bag carrying pigeon comes with the simple message of "educate the child".
Saadhu X Pinkgully Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
SadhuX An Urban Kancha holding an arrow in the pink lane is in search of a target or a mission for life. “How to find happiness in this chaotic urban jungle?” he wonders.

In 2019, to continue building the public art gallery, we returned to the area with 3 international

Manolo Reveals St Art Hyd 2019 Pranav Gohil 6
Manolo Mesa-About the Resistance Inspired by the ‘nature morte’ genre of traditional fine art, Manolo’s work in Maqtha is continuation of a research that he has been developing over the past few years where everyday materials are represented for the viewer to interpret their own meaning. For Manolo, Maqtha was a place where he could always have a conversation with locals - being offered chai constantly with the children playing around his site, the traffic and the sky full of cables. He felt welcomed by the families of Maqtha, and was thankful to be able to create a piece for them.
Rouge Reveals St Art Hyd 2019 Pranav Gohil 4
Rouge- Untitled French artist Rouge’s piece is a metaphor for the complex relationship between the body, humans and the built environment, told in a subtle way through her signature style. Rouge’s work has often been focused on fabrics, which she uses to symbolise freedom of the human body, in particular for women, which, in India, is an important notion, especially in public spaces. Her piece in Maqtha is a deep reflection on patriarchy and the position of women in western and eastern societies - imbued with dense and complex layers, just like the complexity of the issue she tried to address.
Ness Lee Reveals St Art Hyd 2019 Navneeth 2
Ness Lee- Untitled While Maqtha is a deeply masculine neighbourhood at most hours, its visual is more women-centric in the afternoons, when women across ages - from grandmothers to granddaughters, all get together in the streets, gathering in public spaces to chat about life, and general happenings in the neighbourhood. Through her piece Canadian artist Ness Lee wanted to acknowledge this togetherness, while also relating her female figures to mother Nature by painting a web of interconnected women - each one seemingly transitioning into an element of nature such as a tree, water and clouds.
Workshop

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