Crossing the train tracks into the small, residential neighborhood of MS Maqtha does not prepare you for what lies beyond. Hidden within the network of narrow alleyways, roadside stalls, and curtained-off homes lies a world of vibrance and energy, a collection of brilliantly colorful street art murals that stretch across entire buildings four and five stories high.
In December of 2017, the largest street art foundation in India, St+Art India, took to the streets of MS Maqtha with a troupe of artists from around the world. The coming weeks saw the residential area transformed, with more than 30 murals breathing new life into the faded walls.
In an interview with Arch Daily, St+Art India’s Akshat Nauriyal said of the project” “We feel that art, at least the way it exists as an industry, has become marginalized only to a very small section of society, almost a novelty of the rich and the elite.” This Maqtha project, the third fully fledged art district to be created in India, is an attempt to democratize art, to bring it (quite literally) to the streets.
Walking through the streets is a magical experience, full of color. The area is divided into four districts: Green Gully, Yellow Gully, Pink Gully, and Blue Chowk. A series of painted arrows direct visitors to each of the areas of the district, allowing one to spend hours exploring the painted streets.
Hyderabad is a rapidly developing city in the Indian South, divided between the “Old City” and the fast-growing areas of Hitec City of Jubilee Hills. There is perhaps no better place in the city to see this intertwining of old and new than in the neighborhood of MS Maqtha.