With current government’s growing emphasis on cleanliness and sanitation, beautification of cities and towns is picking up a quick pace. Graffitis; the bold, bright and beautiful wall or street art is now being pursued as a systematic artwork program to make the neighborhood look beautiful by the Nagar Nigam in many cities. Similarly, Rachit Gupta a youngster from Dehradun and Founder of Dehradun Graffiti started doing Graffiti artwork in 2014 and is today making the state look beautiful by drawing some of the most creative and amazing graffiti artwork in the streets of different cities and towns of the state. Team TA met Rachit for covering his story, he shared his account of work with us.
What is Graffiti?
Graffiti is a type of street art which started from the times of Roman Empire and Greeks. The ancient Romans carved graffiti on walls and monuments, examples of which also survive in Egypt. Historic forms of graffiti have helped gain understanding into the lifestyles and languages of past cultures. The first known example of “modern style” graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus.
Contemporary Graffiti art started from the streets of New York. The Subways were used extensively by the youngsters of the city to paint the walls and express their thoughts. Graffiti artwork has always been used to express underlying social and political messages in an artistic manner.
(Subway Graffiti artwork in the early 90s in New York City)
Rachit adds “In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner’s permission is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime, which I think has evolved with time and now people want their walls to look colorful and artistic. In India, there are a lot of street art festivals that happen in different cities which totally changes the look of the place/street and also motivates young artists.” Since artwork constitutes of scribing walls, it has also been known for its controversial past.
How did he start?
It all started for Rachit from a small room. He first started doing Graffiti artwork in his own room. At that time, he was not sure of forming the Dehradun Graffiti. “The piece that I painted in my room came out really well and it motivated me to do more of such wall art”, he says.
After, doing some street projects he is now a professional Graffiti artist and involved in executing the commercial projects.
Swachh Bharat Mission and Graffiti art:
Swachh Bharat Mission, launched by PM Modi in 2014 has promised to make India Open Defecation Free by 2019. Apart from this, the nationwide campaign focused exclusively on solid waste management, water, sanitation, and hygiene. The recently started Swachh Survekshan has completed three rounds till now (2015, 2016 and 2017). In the ongoing Swachh Survekshan 2018 more than 4000 cities are taking part and they will be evaluated independently by the Quality Council of India. Graffiti artwork has made the cities cleaner and it has marked itself as a replicable model which can be followed very easily by the other cities too.
For Example, in Indore (the city which secured the first rank in the Swachh Survekshan 2017) an official campaign titled “Graffiti on Walls” was initiated to promote young artists and cleanliness on the streets of the city. Similarly, in Bhopal (which stood second in the survey) several NGOs and freelancing artists were invited to draw Graffiti art on the walls of the city and celebrate the success of Swachh Bharat Mission. In Chandigarh, a Graffiti competition was organized in order to aware and sensitize people on how to keep the city clean and beautiful.
(A Graffiti art made by Rachit at Clock Tower in Dehradun)
All the cities of Uttarakhand have performed extremely poor in previous Swachh Survekshan 2017. Also, the cities are lagging behind in terms of downloading the mobile application meant for ensuring cleanliness in the city.
Rachit has drawn a mural in the clock tower area of the city. According to him, Graffiti art is extremely important to be promoted in the city because the style and bright colors which are used in the art makes the street look attractive and beautiful. It actually deters people from making that street filthy and unhygienic. It directly affects their behavioral pattern. On asking him, whether the people of Dehradun are liking the concept of Graffiti art or not, he replied ” Yes, the idea of graffiti/ wall murals is different and people here are really liking it. I am saying this because the project I get is when people see my work at places, they also feel like getting it done in their rooms, cafes, gyms etc.”
Rachit wants to see his city grow and he is really enjoying making his every art piece in the hilly state of Uttarakhand. “There is a struggle here in every art form. You’ll only learn when you get rid of your ego. You have to give your heart and soul to become what you want to”, he says.
Some of the Graffiti Artwork made by Rachit and his team till now: