Street art in India has surpassed “upcoming” and is now a feature of our day-to-day lives, be it the graffiti in North Campus, Delhi or the iconic mural of Dadasaheb Phalke in Mumbai. But what about the faces behind the art? Without much further ado, we present to you a list the most revolutionary and creative Indian street artists.
Guesswho is an anonymous graffiti artist (or group of artists) who started to work in the streets of Kochi in 2012, and their work can be seen in other cities like Trivandrum and Bangalore as well. Their art is very different, combining elements of East and West—think #DalitLivesMatter and Jimi Hendrix shredding on a sitar, amongst others.
Daku has been called “India’s Banksy” by various entities, including the BBC. Very little is known about his life or identity, only that he’s studied art and worked as a creative at an advertising agency. His (iconic) work is usually a commentary on socio-political issues, with his name added usually in the Devnagari script.
Anpu Varkey is a talented painter who doesn’t just restrict herself to street art—but her murals are quirky and interesting, including the iconic cat-themed ones. She has previously collaborated with German graffiti artist Hendrik Beikirch to create the 158-foot Mahatma Gandhi mural at the Delhi Police Headquarters (2014).
4. Baadal Nanjundaswamy
Baadal Nanjundaswamy shot to fame when he put a life-size (and extremely lifelike!) mural of a crocodile on the streets of Bengaluru to highlight the pothole problems the city was facing. Since then, he has been using art to highlight issues that the public wants resolved—and the government has actually been responding.
Yantr is another anonymous graffiti artist—not much is known about his life. His art can be seen in various cities all over India. Yantr literally means ‘machine’ and mechanical concepts are quite prevalent in his art. His style is influenced by his childhood experiences in his father’s garage and his experience with art.
There are so many wonderful, talented street artists out there, doing incredible work in terms of their artistic talent as well as their sociopolitical commentary. Honestly, the best way to discover them is to take a walk around your city, you might even see some previously-undiscovered gems!