Pune's Street Art Project at Kasba Peth

Street Art is often defined as unsanctioned art projects in public spaces, created by artists for themselves, often making a statement or expressing a sentiment against a public subject. Public art can anarchic, it can also be a medium for social change, or it could simply be beautification of an existing cityscape. In my opinion street art is also political, though the degree could be different.

Pune Street Art Project Mural by Kelly Daragh Kasba Peth
A mural by Kelly Darragh
Pune’s tryst with Street Art, so to say, came of age in the year 2013 by a city based street artist Harshvardhan Kadam. He studied visual design at the Design Centre of IIT Bombay, and quickly found his niche in the domain of art, with specific focus on Street art. Pune Street Art Project was his brainchild and since its inception Street Art has started appearing in the most unusual places across the city.

I have been in Pune to close to two years now, but I must confess that I still do not understand the old part of town much. About street art, all I knew was that the walls were getting painted by artists from across the globe in Kasba Peth and so we decided to check it out. It was only about 1.5km from JM road as per google maps and since it was still late morning, we decided to walk. I had never quite walked on the streets connecting the two areas before and so it was a visual discovery of sorts for me. I almost felt like I saw everything for the first time! Very odd.

However, reaching Kasba Peth was still only half the battle won. Kasba Peth is a fairly large area and so even after reaching there we had no clue about where to start. This is when technology came to our rescue once again. I quickly found Harshvardhan Kadam and his Facebook page and it had his number listed right there. And guess what - even on a Sunday morning he not just picked up the phone, but also gave us suggestions on how to start our walk. His tip was simple, reach the first art piece and then explore the area around. And this is exactly what we did. However, if someone plans to do this walk by themselves and have much less time than us (we had the entire Sunday), following is the path we followed. You can follow this, but do make sure that you also get lost once in a while and explore not just street art, but also Pune’s heritage and culture through the narrow lanes in the area.

If you coming by car, drive to JM road and park the car near the Lakshmibai statue. From there walk towards Kasba pet and ask for Gaokos Maruti temple. As you walk towards the temple from Tilak statue you will come across the first mural by Preetal aka ZERO even before the temple.

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Zero
Mural by Zero
Please do understand that finding these gems on the wall is almost like a treasure hunt, some of these are hidden deep into lanes and you might have to walk randomly into some lanes on hunch or ask around to be able to find them. Gaokos temple is rather small temple and you can easily miss it so keep asking for directions. Right opposite to the temple is Kryptonite which even the locals described as a rocket or a missile, something to take one to another planet. The name of the artist is Note.

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Kryptonite Note
Kryptonite by Note
Follow the lane of the temple and you will come across two more - one is a beautiful Mirabai by Maria of Vitae Viazi (developed with local resident Darshana Bhalgat) and the other one by the same artist is an unnamed alien ship. We asked the people on whose house this was painted and in their opinion this was the spaceship of Spartans. We were impressed by the creative responses :)

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Mirabai Vitae VIzai
Mirabai by Maria of Vitae Viazi
Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Vitae Viazi
Aliens by Maria of Vitae Viazi

To reach the next hub of street art, ask for Cycle Dawakhana chowk. Its about fifteen minutes walk and the reward for walking is immense. The art on the walls is very colourful and strangely also blends very well with the texture of the houses. On one hand there is a mural of Pune’s iconic Dhol Pathaks, a tiger and a fish chasing a fish chasing another fish. 

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth fish
Fish, fish and fish...
Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth little girl
The little girl
Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth dhol pathak
Dhol Pathak!
Pawale chowk is the next stop and is just about ten minutes walk away. But even before you reach the chowk look out into a lane on the left and you will be rewarded by one of my favourite mural. Its a man’s face but we also asked the people around and heard some rally interesting insights - some called it a South American king while others called it a tribal from Africa. The artist is Kelly Darragh from Australia and you can check out her work here


Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Kelly Darragh jumping
Jumping with Kelly's art as background...
Pawale chowk has two murals by Miles Toland from USA and both of these belong to the series called Geometric Abductions - paintings that captures the euphoric playfulness of transcending space and time. Harmonic geometries echo the form of a human body that has suddenly dematerialized into a lucid moment. The remaining forms of the clothing recalls a mixed feeling of flying, falling, and abduction. As I said it earlier, ask people about where you can locate these. We had passed by the mural the first time we crossed the cross-road because they are not always so easy to spot.


Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Harmonics Geometrics Miles Toland
Harmonic Geometrics by Miles Toland
Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Miles Toland
Another Harmonic Geometrics by Miles Toland
I had a few more to see in the area but we had no clue on how to locate them, so we decided to go to the one we knew. We had seen the huge Crocodile mural done by the Artist Amitabh Kumar, by the side of the river while crossing the Shivaji bridge and so decided to find a way down to reach. The mural is absolutely mammoth and I loved the use of black and white as well, though M felt it lacked some colors.

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Crocodile Amitabh Kumar
Crocodile by Amitabh Kumar
 
Here is a short description about the mural:

The river marks the old city from the new - compactly dividing the two Punes that exist as one. Echoing this tension, the mural marks the point where after the 1961 floods a large section of the population crossed over from the old city to create a new Pune. The city continues to grow. On the banks of the Mutha stands मिठुन - watching over an unchanging city hold its own against the shimmering lights from across the river.

At this stage we made a small mistake and decided to walk upto SM Joshi Bridge for the next mural. It was hot afternoon sun and we were pretty much exhausted by the time we reached there. However, we discovered two interesting murals on the way as well, much before we actualy reached the bridge. These are on the road parallel to JM Road, but across the river (actually right next to the river). The first one was actually painted on the wall of a public toilet. This is a beautifully done mural by the city based artist Indrajit Satbhai. The other interesting mural was 'The Insect' by Drift.


Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Indrajit Satbhai
Mural by Indrajit Satbhai
Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Drift
Insect by Drift

The other option would be to simply take an auto rickshaw and ask the driver to take you to Central mall in Kothrud. The mural is by the river, just across the bridge from Central and it’s called ‘The Dwarfs’. The name of the artist is Boris. It was a fantastic finale to our arty day, but it was also one of the most amazing Pune day so far for me in the city :)

Pune Street Art Project Mural Kasba Peth Dwarfs Boris SM Bridge
The Dwarfs by Boris
Once done, you can take an auto-rickshaw back to JM Road, have some coffee there, chill for a while and head back home to relax and think more about the murals.

The best time to explore is early morning and late afternoon. You need not carry food or water as there is plenty throughout the walk.

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Here are more posts on Street Art from Stavanger, Norway:
Stavanger Street Art Part I
Stavanger Street Art Part II

Comments

  1. Fabulous murals! There are so many talented people out there and I am very happy that some cities allow street artists to express themselves. Street art is great!

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  2. Thanks a lot Pat! I really appreciate your comments :)

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  3. Hari Om
    I enjoy seeing these too - though somehow, in India, it seems very much part of the 'fabric' (given that there is a tradition of murals, albeit of gods), whilst in UK certainly and many other concrete-scapes, there is a real schism. Which adds to the art itself of course... YAM xx

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  4. That street art is very striking, and makes the streets come to life.

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  5. Wonderful! Reminds me of Kochi Biennale.

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  6. Awesome wall art!!! Now in most of the places people are used to do wall art to make their environment colorful.

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  7. Oh yes...I too want to attend sometime...

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  8. That's true Yamini...in India street art has always existed. Art movements like these add to it...

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  9. Such fantastic street art! I had no idea there were such gems in Pune. It's fantastic to see street art mushrooming and claiming its place in the urban spaces of Indian cities; Delhi has also seen some stunning artworks over the past couple of years, thanks to some creative and inspired graffiti artists. More power to the tribe!

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  10. Anu @ CountryHoppingCoupleFebruary 13, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    Man! I can't still come to understanding that these murals are in India! So beautifully painted and I honestly couldn't take my eyes off them! Sharing in my social media!

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  11. Your blog was such a useful guide to have in hand as we navigated through the streets looking for the works of art. Thank you! :)

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  12. That's really nice to know Urooza! I so super glad :D

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  13. Hahaha! I thought the same when I saw them...but this seems to be happening now and more now. There is quite a lot of street art in Delhi as well...

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  14. I completely agree! I also had idea that the was so much art on Pune streets...capturing street art in other cities is high on my agenda now :)

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  15. Really amazing the walls of this city already have their stories, their words, but aren't audible. This art project will give them a new voice.

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  16. Hey Sid, wow! so nice to explore your blog after long time.... those all art work are in the walls of Pune??? And all of them are exceptionally interesting. I have seen some on the wall which one can see while going to Sancheti Hospital from Weather Station, Shivaji Nagar.

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  17. Gorgeous murals! Makes me want to visit Pune soon. Thanks for the post.

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  18. Gorgeous murals, something I would definitely love to explore the next time I am in Pune. Thank you for sharing this!

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  19. I am glad you enjoyed these Teresa :)

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  20. Nice street arts. Well portrayed :)

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  21. It looks like your arduous day yielded some wonderful street art. I especially liked the crocodile. it sound like the local people don't mind that street artists have left work on their walls. Thanks for contributing a second time to this week's Monday Mural.

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    1. Yes, the most locals were actually happy that someone painted their home :)

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  22. Wow, so many murals! I love "The King" what a beautiful work of art.

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  23. These are really amazing. I love the bright colours!

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  24. Very nice murals, Siddhartha!
    So, we have two crocodilians (based on the list of submissions to the meme, viewed so far) this time. How nice!
    Have a Wonderful Week!
    Peace :)

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    1. That's really interesting! I guess there is something about the crocodiles :)

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  25. Brilliant! I like the unique topics you bring forth to write on. :)

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  26. Hello Sid, by any chance do you still have the number of Mr Kadam?

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    1. Hi Saugata, I do have his number but won't be able to share it. It's best to get in touch with him through his facebook page or on IG.

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  27. The work is absolutely amazing! It's great seeing people putting their artistic abilities to good use. Is it possible for other people to contribute to this?

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    1. I completely agree...it's pretty amazing! I am not sure if you can contribute directly, best it to get in touch with the creator himself :)

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. Hey this is just wonderful. The colors, textures and styles are so different. The best part about them is how alive these objects look. I especially admire Indrajeet's creativity.
    I am an artist myself and I like using acrylics on paper, usually Bristol, and I love to create interesting backgrounds with rubber cement. The rubber cement works as a resist allowing layers to be painted down on top of each other but being able to keep certain areas white or in my case apply some rubber cement(let it dry), paint a color(let it dry), apply rubber cement in an interesting pattern(let it dry), apply another color(let it dry), and then using a rubber cement pickup rub across the entire piece seeing what is revealed underneath. The end results look very much like a multiple color print
    For easy and convenient shopping of art supplies visit our website:
    https://goo.gl/CFP3yU

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