Guess Who – The Graffiti Artist Refreshing The Walls Of Bangalore
The prelude to the story is from two years ago from when I was lost in the by-lanes of Fort Kochi searching for Malabar-Junction, a courtyard style restaurant that was described to me as movie-cool. Instead, I stumbled upon was a graffiti of a provocative Mona Lisa in a saree carrying a pot over her head with the words “Guess Who” stenciled on the wall.
I took a picture to stalk this artist later on the web. Guess Who (or Guesswho) is an anonymous artist, not as infamous as Banksy but works on similar lines. The graffitis were a reaction to the famous Kochi-Muziris-Biennale, which he said was restrictive of who could showcase publicly and hence all his art signifies the ever-changing culture of a city, and it’s visual landscape through a pictorial commentary. I’ve spotted them in the most unsuspecting places not only in Bangalore but Gokarna and Pondicherry as well.
Honestly, I don’t try to understand art or decode its significance from an artist’s perspective. It’s about what it signifies to me. I now look at the Mona Lisa one (It has been my Facebook cover photo for more than a year now) and fondly remember my Kochi vacation and my long walk that night hoping to find more of his work.
There are two graffitis from “Guess Who” very close to where I live. One is that of a Harry Potter grinding a mill above a heap of garbage. It’s as if even Harry Potter’s magic didn’t work in clearing the mess that Bangalore is currently in (when it comes to the problem of overflowing garbage). The least one can do is, put up an interesting graffiti above a wall over it and hope people would respect it enough, to not dump it with garbage. Don’t think this trick is working.
The second one is that of a saree clad woman riding a Harley, and I pass this one too, every day. To me, the graffiti signifies the freedom that Bangalore gives me. Whatever it’s problem maybe I still feel safe as a woman in this city. It allows me to be the bravado I want to be. It has given me the opportunities that I know most women in this country are deprived off.
These graffitis from the graffiti artist “Guess Who” are sometimes termed as subversive in nature, but every time I’ve come across one of these stenciled portraits it has always triggered a positive note in me.
Wearing : Top and Jeans from Lee
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