A pink bus with an image of a tiger painted on it… No it’s not an exhibit in a gallery, but an artist’s work on wheels. Jaaga, an NGO in Bangalore has partnered with Max Mueller Bhavan and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to bring five graffiti artists from Germany and five from India to paint on government buses.
This is part of a larger project by Jaaga called the Urban Avante-Garde which also includes graffiti painting in public space, experimental dance performance, sound installations and music. “Our intention was to create public engagement and participatory means where the public would take ownership of the neighbourhood, keep it clean, maintain it and personalize it,” says Archana Prasad on why she brought together graffiti artists to create murals and paint buses.
Jan paints buses at the Wilson Garden bus workshop. Photo by Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
10 artists of which five are from India and five from Germany have visually represented their ideas on the bus. Like Shilo Shiv Suleman from Bangalore who has painted her bus with characters from everyday you’d find in a crowded bus with “Swalpa adjust maadi” (Kannada for ‘adjust a little’) written on it. The other side of the same bus has the work of a German artist who has painted serious faces reading a newspaper in the bus.
The buses will be a part of a larger festival, Malleshwaram Moves, a festival organized by Jaaga in Malleshwaram on 25 February, Saturday. The artists are also going around the neighbourhood of Malleshwaram in Bangalore and painting on walls and railway station as a preparation of sorts to a grand festival. The fest also marks the grand finale of the Malleshwaram Accessibility Project (http://yourmap.in/) where volunteers from Jaaga have been talking to residents of the neighbourhood in preparing a concise plan to solve local issues. Archana Prasad hopes that the Urban Avante Garde and Malleshwaram Accessibility Project would serve as prototypes and inspire more such activities in the future.