Photo by Akshat Nauriyal

Alternative culture is the underground — the subversive step-brother of popular culture, catering to a niche audience. All across the world, independent movements in art are taking place — even in our own country. One powerful global movement today is that of street art — using public spaces to display art, make statements; even critique society and the status quo. The public nature of these works make them accessible to everyone — making art truly democratic. Over the past five years, I’ve worked closely with the independent/alternative communities in India as part of my web-based documentary film series “Now Delhi” on emerging sub-cultures. And through my close association with the street art community, I now find myself as a co-founder of India’s largest international street art festival - St+art, organised by the St+art India foundation, a not-for-profit aiming at reinventing public spaces through the medium of urban/street art. The St+art festival is an international street art festival where artists from across the country and the world are invited to paint murals, conduct workshops, screenings, and even an exhibition. The aim of the festival is to alter the visual landscape of the concrete jungle our cities have become and to make them more appealing for the people who use them the most.  The second edition of the st+art festival was held in Mumbai in Nov-Dec 2014 where 40 artists from across the country and the world worked across several areas of the city, including Bandra, Dharavi, Borivali, Kandivali and more. There were over 50 murals painted along with an installation at the Jindal mansion. The festival culminated with the largest mural of the country — a 120 x 150 foot tribute to the father of Indian cinema — Dadasaheb Phalke.

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