Art Street: graffiti on the steps of St Stephen in Mumbai that offer a few moments of serenity
Walking along the road that leads to the Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Mary at Bandra in Mumbai, one passes by the artistic steps of St. Stephen. What makes the zigzag ascent and descent of the serpentine stairs picturesque are the paintings that flank both sides, most of them by artists paying homage to various art forms across the country.
One of the graffiti that greets you as you begin to descend the steep stairs is an Indian tribal art inspired painting by artist Avantika Mathur which is an amalgamation of different styles from across the country.
“The painting shows how tribal art is the creative heart of India, images inspired by Kalighat painting from Calcutta, Gond art from Madhya Pradesh and Kutchi embroidery from Gujarat. Each place has its own style and its craftsmanship known as society craftsmanship.Every style of artwork is different from every state….I used this artwork just to show a glimpse of our vastness and our beauty. I did the artwork in 10 hours,” Avantika said, describing her art.
Further on is a bright and flashy painting of a spray can by Grishma Palekar. “The idea was to spread positivity through the use of bright colors. The spray can symbolizes emotions and expresses them through music and colors. I firmly believe that if art has the ability to express a message, it might as well be a good one! Grichma said.
Next comes a tribute to the Turkish street musician Bilal Goregen, famous on social networks. It’s a drawing of him drumming with the famous dancing cat that is usually edited with his videos.
Pritish Suranje, the artist, who is inspired by Bilal, said, “The illustration expresses the happiness of a blind man (Bilal Goregen) playing the instrument (darbuka) he loves. Nothing can be blocked; even without sight, he manages to play and sing accordingly and have fun.
Bilal is indeed a true influencer, spreading positivity and inspiring us to explore our latent talents, Suranje said.
The poor maintenance of the area shows that mold has covered many paintings. In some cases, plants appeared right in front of some of these paintings.
Nonetheless, the usually quiet and uncrowded St. Stephen’s Stairs are the perfect place for a few moments of serenity and a touch of bliss in an otherwise crowded city.