For the paint-hearted
Featuring India's first-ever graffiti battle, an upcoming festival in the city will put the spotlight on elements of hip-hop other than rap
The growing interest in hip-hop in the city is often alluded to the making and success of Gully Boy. "Everyone wants to rap because of the film," says 21-year-old Rahul Maurya who goes by the moniker Alchemy. Over the years, rap became a synonym of sorts for the hip-hop music with its roots in NYC's South Bronx area. But this Sunday in Marol, Maurya is seeking out to put the limelight on other elements of the genre including graffiti and breaking with the festival titled Bombway.
The name of the festival is a play on 'Bombing' a term that refers to a painting spree by graffiti artists, and the city itself. Maurya, a graffiti artist and b-boy with Bombay Lokal, a hip-hop collective from Vasai, Nallasopara and Virar, started planning the event in May along with Tushar Shedge aka Smach. "Marol is now an art district. Since Wicked Broz, a graffiti agency, is based there, most artists have painted there," he informs. The highlight of the day-long festival is that is will feature the country's first-ever graffiti battle. "There will be eight walls and 16 artists from all over the country. They will be split into teams of two via a lottery system and paints will be given to participants on the spot. Although there is no time limit, the competition starts at 8 am, and winners will be judged on the basis of aesthetics," Maurya shares.
The agenda for the organisers is to give beginners first-hand knowledge into the world of the art form. There are very few graffiti artists in India. And when people delved into it, it was mostly an underground activity. "So, this is a chance for aspiring artists to directly witness and interact with professionals directly," Maurya says, while Chennai-based Kumarpal Jain of Molotow India, the manufacturers of the spray cans, echoes the sentiment. "India has a lot of potential. These paints are sourced from Germany and are sold directly to the artists. Before this, we didn't have as many colours for spray painting available in the country — now you have about 15 shades available for the grey colour — and hence, the art itself hasn't evolved so much here."
With each participant getting six cans to use in battle, Jain hopes that the event paves the way for the future of hip-hop. "Wall art is great for the public eye but we need a formal system where artists can reach out to the government or private institutions to secure permissions to paint on them." Apart from graffiti, the event will also include a b-boying, beatboxing and a freestyle football showcase as well as a biking jam.
The evening will end with a performance by Bombay Lokal, and perhaps, also with a greater understanding of hip-hop and its community.
ON October 20, 8 am onwards
AT Bharatvan, 11, Customs Colony Road, Customs Colony, Marol, Andheri East.
COST Rs 100 (Entry); Rs 50 (participation)
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