The wall has always been the most widely used medium for communication and can be dated back to the prehistoric times. The act of scribbling, scratching or spraying anything illicitly upon a wall or any other visible public place is the dictionary meaning of graffiti.
Graffiti in different forms from across the world have been helpful in providing valuable insights into the earlier societies because the walls have a story to tell. Street art today allowing people to connect with art and expression on a daily basis, the colourful and beautiful murals painted on walls reach out to the public every day.
In India the cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have already used wall graffiti to beautify the city. Though Kolkata is not famous for street graffiti but over the years things have been changed in Kolkata. It has undergone immense changes in colour, content, display. But what makes this age-old tradition remarkable is its multi-layered experience. The concept of wall graffiti is not new to Kolkata. Political graffiti dominate the city-walls for the last few decades. Even in this age of digitization, it has not lost its charm among the urbanites, but the domain has spread its umbrella.
These street wall arts are scattered around the walls of Kolkata. As a city shutterbug I roam around the city to find these versatile wall graffiti around the whole city. In South Kolkata (the areas namely golfgreen, mominpur, sadar street), graffiti are mainly 3D wall arts, colourful quotes or some sarcastic image .On the other hand the wall-art of North Kolkata revolve around iconic personalities or some contemporary arts such as murals. Before durga puja , the upsurge in graffiti is a regular phenomenon in North Kolkata.
The purpose is to get the message across, to provide a platform for the aspiring artists, to save the walls from the grime and the dirt of the city-life and, most importantly, to create an artistic experience that will be relished and cultivated beyond the borders.The capitalist influenced law made commercial advertisements legal and graffiti into a underground activity. Defacing a public wall or space is still illegal under the West Bengal Act, which began in Kolkata to ban political graffiti. We live in a city where walls are usually covered by eye soaring political writings and advertisement, this city diffidently needs a face lift. This wall graffiti gives you the teaser of the city’s spirit, lifelines, hopes, despairs, and last but not the least, the people at large. Let the walls whisper, shout and sing. It is a long journey and still needs a lot of encouragement, appreciation and respect as an art form. But there is growing passion, talent and space — all the ingredients for a very bright future!
About Pritam Dutta
Pritam Dutta is an independent photographer who currently lives in Kolkata, India. His professional career started as a software engineer, but in 2015 he decided to make a change to pursue his true passion for photography. But the curiosity and hunger for learning that had motivated his engineering career did not vanish. Pritam now uses photography as vehicle to understand and help depict issues that puzzle him, and satisfy his passion for learning. Among his most prominent themes are culture, religion and people. His images have now been shown in curated exhibitions and have won numerous awards.