5 Female Graffiti Artists Who Are Breaking Barriers And Reinventing Street Art
It is impossible not to admire the staggering 6080 square foot Gandhi mural on the New Delhi police headquarters’ building facade. Created by Bengaluru-based Anpu Varkey in collaboration with Hendrik Beikirch, the artwork is quite a feat. Varkey was first introduced to graffiti art in Germany, and she has worked on walls of cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Leh, Bengaluru, Kochi, Goa, Abu Dhabi, Hamburg, Berlin and Bremen, among many others. A student of the Byam Shaw School of Art, London, her other famous works include a giant harvest moon near the Halasuru Metro Station in Bengaluru and stencils around hot watering holes in the city. Varkey’s pieces are big-sized, immersive experiences.
SHILO SHIV SULEMAN
An award-winning visual artist, who focuses on the intersection of magical realism, social change and technology, Bengaluru-based Shilo Shiv Suleman has worked with various communities on reclaiming public spaces across the world. While women’s bodies have often been represented by men as objects or muses, Shilo’s pet project, Fearless, encourages women to represent their own bodies on their terms. She has facilitated the creation of some of the most radical murals in the world — two gay men embracing on the streets of Beirut, transgender women in Pakistan and poignant portrayals of Syrian refugees in Syria. Today, Fearless uses community art to fight gender inequality and sexual violence.
Topping the list of one of the most celebrated Indian street artists, Mumbai based Jas Charanjiva’s (also the co-founder of Kulture Shop, a platform for Indian graphic artists) grew up around street art and graffiti in California where her tryst with art began. A casual visit to graffiti-inspired exhibits in New York motivated her to create her first piece. Charanjiva’s works are narrative, bold and thought-provoking, with heavy doses of text and typography. One of her standout pieces is the ‘Pink Lady’ (officially known at Kulture Shop as ‘Don’t mess with me’) — it represents a modern woman in traditional Indian wear with knuckle dusters. The piece was a reflection on the Nirbhaya rape case and how it affected attitudes and gender roles in modern India.
25-year old, Dubai-based creative marketer and graffiti artist, Jheel Goradia, is a strong and vocal feminist, who regularly shatters stereotypes with her works. Incorporating digital with street art, she creates the characters digitally and then pastes them with wheat gum on the walls of Mumbai’s suburbs like Bandra, Juhu and Andheri, where most of her millennial target audience resides. She created the #BreakingTheSilence project in her final year at college to eradicate the negative effects of objectification, pop culture and Bollywood. Emotive, straight-forward and extremely cheeky, Goradia’s pieces are hard-hitting AF.
25-year old graffiti artist, Kajal Singh (she goes by the moniker Dizy), has curated art forms that are visual treats that liven up the public spaces they have been painted on. Along with being an avid painter, she is also a beauty and fitness vlogger and has deep-rooted love and understanding of hip hop. Graphic, neon and celebratory, her works can be seen on the walls of Berlin, Germany, Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata. She sticks to blocky and bubbly lettering from the ‘old school’ block-lettered graffiti style of 1980s’ New York, painting them in bright colours along with shine and accents. Singh has also collaborated with Nike to support girls in sports in the past and has been invited to paint in countries like the US, Russia and China.