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11:39pm, 27th June, 2016

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5 min

Thought provoking, sometimes offensive and a work of art directed mostly towards culture and society, this is street art.

Have you watched ‘Make your move’? The South Korean – American movie that opens with Derek Hough tap-dancing on the streets of New Orleons to make a living while he is on parole. Artists and performers are increasingly choosing to perform for the largest and most general audience – the masses. They may or may not be art lovers, may or may not have an eye for appreciation of a particular art and may or may not know the nuances of the performance. Such an audience is the toughest to please because they merely depend on their intuitions to rate the art as good or bad.

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Image source : static-bluray.com

I remember walking along the south bank of Thames after a leisurely evening in Westminster. A certain typical artform trends in this part of the city. Artists paint themselves to pose as statues placed along the sides of the wide riverside pavement. They remain still in their position not even moving to breath! But if you inadvertantly happen to walk very close to them they will suddenly make a move scaring the wits out of you.

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Image source : cloudfront.net ( Alexander Khokhlov )
Or another one in Madame Tussauds Museum, London where a lady dressed up as a wax statue – she had wax rubbed all over herself to give the plastic/ waxy look – stood by a wax statue as still as death. People would come and pose next to her to click pictures and move on to the next statue. This continued for some fifteen minutes until after a click with a girl she suddenly spoke in a sharp voice ‘Thankyou so much for the picture!’. The girl screamed at the top of her voice and the entire hall panicked for sometime before they realised what had happened.
Any kind of street performance requires a great amount of endurance. Mainly because unlike a performance on screen, for a street performance one has to be flawless! There is no room for mistake and it has to be very real for the onlookers to appreciate it. It has to look effortless and full on energy level.
This reminds me of a performance by a French theatre group in Alliance Francais de Delhi. They performed ‘The Jungle Book’ on stage. But it was hardly a ‘stage’ performance as the characters from the jungle tread all over the theatre hall shouting, howling, singing and growling all around us. They jumped over us and rolled over giving us a feeling of a multi-dimentional show. So much so that their collective voices created sonic resonance inside the theatre hall. Despite being performed entirely in French we thoroughly enjoyed the performance because it was flawless and very very real. We literally lived it!

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Image source:
The Set of ‘The Jungle Book’. (Picture is my own! Unfortunely we don’t have a picture from the play. We didn’t click any during the performance)

So Street art is not so much about performing on ‘street’ but it is more about performing for the masses. It should be something that people from all cultures, backgrounds and age can appreciate and relate to. It has to be very basic and genuine. Looks like we are back to basics!

Image source : bp.blogspot

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