Kolkata, the city of joy, has been home to literature, art & culture since time immemorial. From the city’s colonial architecture to the works of literature and art is proof of the fact that we are indeed the cultural capital of the country. And street art, as in, Graffiti has been generating quite the buzz in the city— many random walls across the city have been painted with graffitis that either want to express something or they’ve been done just to be a vent to an artist’s mind.
I as a street photographer have been out on the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata for years to get that perfect picture with the right elements. And in my journey over the years I’ve come across a good deal of graffiti art in Kolkata that speaks volumes for itself. Interestingly, graffiti is considered a western form of art— that we are just emulating what the street taggers in Chicago, San Francisco and many other cosmopolitan cities have been doing.
This is where I’d beg to differ because graffiti in Kolkata has a meaning of its own— the graffitis here are not even remotely of westernised imagery, on the contrary, it is very much traditional with localised flavour infused with it.
Since Saturdays are my hunting days, I go out on the streets of Kolkata to get a picture that I’ve already pictured in my head— meaning street photography, I feel, isn’t candid but it is about waiting for the right moment for all the elements to flow in. And quite fascinatingly so, I’ve found graffiti in almost all parts of Kolkata from Kumartuli & Sovabazaar area to Tottee Lane near Sudder Street and even down south at Golf Green.
“You don’t click a picture, you make it.”
What I found fascinating about graffiti in Kolkata is the unique blend of techniques borrowed from the western aesthetics and very characteristic Bengali culture and traditions. Perhaps the pictures speak for themselves.