In 2009, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) embarked on its own version of a street-art initiative. Noting that most of the street walls of the city exuded a dismal sight, marred by commercial posters stuck rampantly one over the other through the years, they commissioned about 100 local painters to draw murals on the city’s street walls. The city’s public spaces soon came alive in a profusion of mural colours – the themes drawn from the history, geography, culture and other aspects relating to the state of Karnataka.
This street-art presented a challenge to me as a photographer. I would choose a particular mural in a public space, and then wait for a photographic moment to evolve in front of the mural. The manifesting scene had to relate to the mural in the background, resulting in images that were at once inspiring, downright comical or thought provoking. The frenzied street traffic with its share of blaring horns, pedestrians, hawkers, gawkers, destitutes, and policemen combined with the heat and dust was a test of patience. I would often wait for hours to get that appropriate image which would lend the mural transcendence beyond its true purpose.
Later, this thematic interest evolved beyond the BBMP sponsored street-art to backgrounds utilizing cinema posters, graffiti and other myriad alternatives
“When I travel, walk about, read a book or watch a movie, compositions and frames flash before me. I believe that our everyday life is a series of frames stitched together by the thread of time; some mundane, some interesting and some rather extraordinary. Out there, it is about those instant possibilities thrown up by a combination of chance, an inquisitive mind and a camera in hand,” says Shanavas.
TEXT AND PHOTOS: SHANAVAS