Art Districts

Maqtha Art District


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.

Maqtha Pranav Gohil 2

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 working 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 and Vijay - FOMO. FoMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing. A social angst that has cropped up with the advent of social networking in the 21st century. "Our intention is to convey that our life is hacked by technology. 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.

Makhta is swarming with children and pigeons, which were my first impressions, so they ended up inspiring the idea behind my mural. And, pigeon-keeping, was a Nawabi-hobby that is now making a comeback amongst the youth of Hyderabad. The colour palette and the background are influenced by the architecture and sights around me, I wanted everything to blend in together. So, in a way, this is a visual interpretation of my encounters with Makhta - open-ended, with surreal proportions and a dose of references to its rich history and colourful present. Initiating conversations and hoping to bring a close knit community, closer

- Sattired
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
Do & Khatra - Unusual Usual. The duo's piece of a rickety old man evoked various reactions in Makhta, the best of which speculated that the man featured was actually Mahatma Gandhi. Could it be? The artists clarify.

Makhta is a livewire of a place, full of chaos and children. Before starting off, we were clueless and confused about what we were going to make on this gigantic wall. What we knew for sure was that we wanted to create something funny and light-hearted. A piece that will hopefully bring a smile on the faces of the people who live here. We observed some very old citizens living around there. We then then randomly decided to paint a huge old man, who goes by the name of Aataji, who has one teeth and is holding a toothbrush with one bristle, with a crowing rooster on his arm. The depiction is a usual morning sight, but in an unusual way.

- Do & Khatra
Nilesh Pranav Gohil
Nilesh - Untitled. A hundred pigeons flutter past Nilesh Artist's mural, which stands on a building next to the Necklace Road Railway Station. We see a monument, and beside it a man suspended in a moment before he dips his rotund Irani biscuit into his chai.

Irani Chai is a famous feature in Hyderabad. The people here have been drinking it for centuries. My piece talks about the Chai's unifying quality, bringing together various classes of people under one roof to discuss and debate pertinent topics of the day

- Nilesh
Nikola Mihajlović
Nikola Mihajlović- Untitled. Nikola Mihajlović felt the bustle of Hyderabad the moment he landed in the city. Everything in the city - its people, traffic and architecture was colourful.

I wanted to bring everything I saw in the city onto a wall. I painted it in a way to show that the city constantly grows. Ultimately what I made was spontaneous, and it represents the chaotic flow of Hyderabad

- Nikola Mihajlović
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 developing art projects based on geometric experiments.

The idea was to make a coincidence between the surroundings and the artwork, since I have always been fascinated by the merging of the abstract and the real. To have been able to do this experiment here has been wonderful. It is interesting to bring art to such a neighborhood. It makes art a truly democratic process.

- Jean-Luc Feugeas
Alber Akshat Nauriyal
Alber (Bordeaux, France). Over the years Alber 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.

I use line and colour prominently in all my street art work. I love painting characters. Initially, I used to paint full bodies, but over the time I've been only painting faces and profiles. My piece at Maqtha is a play on the eyes. Two characters with expressive eyes looks back at you

- Alber


In 2016, St+art invited a few artists from Telangana to paint the boundary walls of the the Maqtha art district.

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.

The attraction between the flower and the eye balls are 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

- Anjaneyalu Reddy
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.

The portraits are a part of a series of vintage illustrations that I have been recently working on. They're drawn from a collection of old family photographs from the 60s. That's why you'll spot a puzzled young boy wearing a check shirt or a young man with a pencil moustache. There's also the woman in a zig zag saree. They are all people showing off the fashion of that era. The objective was to illicit a nostalgic feeling for a bygone time, and contrast them to today - where they have great photographs but lack a bold personality. I drew it with an old, rustic look in mind, and I used bright red to bring out the contrast and contemporary look to the portraits.

- Varun
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. Telangana-based artist Biluka Nirmala's thought provoking artwork for #starthyd is a portrait of Chakali Ailamma, the peasant leader of the Telangana Rebellion.

As an aside, you'll also see Guns and roses, that I've used to depict the duality of the female - oscillating between tough and soft depending on the situation. My work on such themes in the past helped me execute this piece. As for the visual style, I drew inspiration from realism and Indian popular culture.

- Nirmala Biluka

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. In the heart of Maqtha, at the top of a tall building nested between the main market and the Mosque, Swati and vijay bring attention to a crucial question. Are we just human without humanity? At a spot where a large number of people passes by on a daily basis, they aim to capture their attention and trigger awareness about how we behave. Painted in a Trompe-l'œil technique, the artists create a false wallpaper which seems like it is falling over the last syllable of the work cutting the word 'Humanity' into 'Human'. The richness of the gold, the patterns and the color palette insist on the richness of what we are if we preserve humanity.
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 depicts various elements like trees that symbolise a fresh start in life, positive energy, good health and a bright future. The children standing / 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.

Later in 2017, St+art went back to Maqtha 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 Turquoise Gully, the Pink Gully ,the Yellow Gully and the Blue Chowk, 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


Daksha Turquoise Lane Reveals Pranav Gohil 18
Daksha- Untitled . For the Maqtha Art district, artist Daksha painted in the turquoise lane. He painted a man named Pitala Doora (pittalu = birds, doora = landlord, zamindar). He is a storyteller who used to be popular in the rural parts of India in the olden days. For a living he would tell fictional stories in a unique manner that made it interesting and entertaining for the audiences.Daksha makes a comparison with ‘the art of telling lies’ and equates him to the contemporary politics and our politicians in the country who sell their stories for votes rendering the people as mere puppets.
Delphine Delas- The Elemental Rays. This French-artist painted in the Turqoise gully to depict an organic invasion of plants. She shows nature taking back its space in our dense urban areas. The mural is an abstraction of nature and its motives and is also reminiscent of Islamic art. The white and pink lines of perspective pursue the rays of the sun, which punctuate the composition with floral forms.


Nandita Ratan - Machli. When Nandita first saw the yellow lane, to her it seemed like a long narrow tunnel that was closing in on her. With scope for detailed work that would be viewed from a close range, the lane reminded her of aquarium tunnels. The surreal jelly-fish like forms floating through the space create a break from the monotony of everyday sightings in teh region and break the rigidity of the narrow alley.


Hoozinc, Native to Hyderabad, Adopting a sketch-like approach, Hoozinc 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. With elements such as flower pots hanging outside of the balconies, ornate railings and street side benches, the artists spoke with the house owners to reimagine the houses with them.
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.


Hoozinc Blue Plaza Maqta Artdistrict Reveals Pranav Gohil 1
Hoozinc- The shadow wall. Located very close to the local school and because many children pass by, they wanted to do something interactive, something that is easily relatable to the old and young. While this wall is very bright and easy to understand the presence of geometric shadows in the work brings out new realism and perspective to the painting while maintaining its simplicity. It also is an attempt to encourage children to imitate the shadow or make a paper boat. They also wanted the kids to appreciate art and nature in seamless interaction with each other. To top it all, the drainage system of Maqtha is never under control and that makes it perfect for the duck and boat to swim in.
Harithpuram Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Harith puram - The Birds Nest. Harith Puram's practice revolves around the spaces we occupy in our daily lives. Based on a sensitive investigation of the world we live in, he draws a comparison between nature and growing urbanisation, which he sees as a threat and not a process of development and evolution. Through this work, he tries to talk about the rampant urbanisation that is taking over the city and expresses himself through natural elements like the bird's nest, bringing our attention to the damage done to the local flora and fauna.
Varun Vedvyas -In the Heart of Maqtha. The artist painted gold on ultramarine blue to make the mural look more elegant when it shines in sunlight, making the surroundings seem royal. He uses the technique of Kufesque to imitate the Kufic script for a decorative purpose. Visually, it resembles a maze within which you have to find your path, just like the streets in the neighbourhood.
Shiva Rangaa Blue Chowk Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil 6
Shiv and Ranga- Juxtapose. Upon walking around in Maqtha, the artists couldn’t help but be in awe of the chaos and diversity of the neighbourhood. It showcased a true sense of community among people from different walks of life, religions and cultures that coexist with such ease. The kids, goats, sounds of staple guns from the sofa making karkhanas, prayers from the mosque and the wet road, added to the character of this unique place. Instead of creating anything figurative, the artist, tried to present the element of surprise by juxtaposing a false perspective on the facade which, at first sight looks like a complex set of lines. On closer look one can see paths leading up, going down, turning right and left, and sometimes leading nowhere, just like Maqtha! The mural has been painted at the blue chowk of the Maqtha Art District, with straight lines to create an illusion of curves and an actual curvy line as only been used once around the central white arch.
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 concrete architecture, where people of different beliefs harmonise to make Maqtha. He composed geometric patterns to create a structure resembling a simple tree, to symbolise the vibrancy of life in Maqtha that inspired him to be bright and colourful. Situated next to the Hussain Sagar, he associated the name of the lake with a poet and hence painted a primitive looking character, with the motif of the mask he found hanging outside many homes (Nazar Battu), imagining a beautiful free Maqtha.
Avinash Kamesh Maqta Artdistrict Reveals Pranav Gohil 17
Avinash and Kamesh- Real Surreal. Avinash and Kamesh used elements on the wall depicting elements of Maqtha and Hyderabad. They depicted mountains, galaxy, under water, a human diving in, a cage, a pigeon , hen, a planet and building cubes. The mountains show Hyderabad with it's ups and downs; the galaxy points to the endlesss possibilities of life in maqtah. The person diving in depicts diving into a sea of culture; the hen symbolises the sunrise and the pigeon set free symbolises the many overlapping cultural boundaries.


Swathi Vijay Pink Lane Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil 3
Swathi & Vijay - Safety Pins. While perusing the streets of the neighbourhood, Swathi & Vijay observed a lot of bonhomie on the streets but a very visible discrimination against migrants/ tenants from the old residents of the colony, a symptom common to developing urban cities. Using two whimsy safety pins as binders between the different kinds of people in the different homes of Maqtha, Swathi & Vijay leave another impactful message on the streets.
Karuna Sukka- 'Untitled'. This piece comments on the loss of environment, giving way to an urban concrete jungle, as was the case for where Maqtha now stands. This mural is her gentle reminder to plant more trees and flowers around the city, letting them be a part of our lives in this manner.
Harithpuram Pink Lane Maqta Art District 2018 Reveals Pranav Gohil
Harith Puram. The artist pushes his artistic style by using an impressionistic technique to show the face of a happy and playful child amidst a background of greens. Here he tries to remind us about the simple but essential 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.


On December 16, 2017, the Maqtha Art District was inaugurated by Honourable Minister, KT Rama Rao.

The project was born with the intent of developing the neighbourhood through contemporary urban art in view of regenerating several of its public spaces while engaging the community in the process.

With over 40 murals created by Indian and international artists, #maqthaartdisrtict is now an integral part of Hyderabad's civic landscape and a source of pride and inspiration.

Walk with KTR
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