Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Art in Urban Spaces

The Bazaars in India are spaces for everyday but they are also places where vendors express themselves through their creative displays, to attract people and to sell goods. This is a form of art perceived not as a "representation" of the real world but as a "way of seeing".

A walk through a traditional Street bazaar can be compared to a walk through a modern Urban environment. Although two people could see the same things at the same time, they might not always do so. In a Bazaar, what might be within the range of vision one moment, might not be, in the next.

If you don't see the hands that make the flower garland at this moment, in the next moment, you see only red and blue plastic buckets. When two of us walk along a street, you experience in one moment the labyrinth of garlands to your right, and I, the brass pots in front of me. The next moment, you see no twirling garland in the making and I see no sunshine on the brass. It was only for the moment and that moment is now gone.

In the Indian City, the urban experience draws from more than just architecture. The streets are also places of exchange. Each vendor finds his own way of displaying the goods and makes a shelter within the public space with materials locally and easily available, with a sensibility very much his own.

There is a pictorial language in the forms that the goods bear individually and collectively and the spaces that are generated between goods and the vendor, between vendor and a building façade and between the vendor, façade and the customer.

There is a temporariness in this creation that depends on the time of the day, the season of the year and the access to public space. Here, the art is functional; it attracts and the wares are sold. It is not the art that sells.

The photographs included here are from a collection that was exhibited at the Urban Visualities Exhibition and Symposium at Dakshinachitra in Chennai from 27Jan – 27Feb 2011

Read about :
Art and daily commodity
an Art Installation


Anu said...

our markets are really creative... the way they display products to their best advantage is great! and they do it instinctively, without any sort of training!

Meena Venkataraman said...

Love this post...
There used to be a market close to where I live and there are times I have walked the stretch just to absorb the colours...
Love them during the festival seasons too.. They seem to come alive

Bluegreen Kirk said...

Love the open markets and they way the vendors display the thing they have for sale.

Brandon said...

Hi, I wanted to drop by and let you know that I've included this post in my series Freewheelings Five Best Travel Articles on Friday. I usually let the people I include know via twitter but I didn't see a twitter account for you. Here's the series:


The magic of Indian Bazaars is really something special. I hope you'll read the digression this post sent me on (next to your article on my site).

Have a wonderful day.


Indian Bazaars said...

Anu: One can just go on and on with watching the changing displays. There seems to be so much happening.

Meena: I've just been to the Holi Bazaar in Delhi this morning and its amazing how colourful markets can be with every festival season!

BlueGreen Kirk: I just discovered that there is a 600 year old open market that happens every Sunday in Ahmedabad!

Brandon: Thanks so much for this.

Anil P said...

Picture number three is lovely mix of patterns.

I'm usually taken in by the spires of colour rising from shop displays, and wonder how they manage to retain their shapes with so many people jostling about in the bazaars.

Surely some elbow must dislodge the conical mounts of colour, sometimes.

I've not been to witness to such an occurence though.

chitchat said...

I am a student of architecture and m studying the Indian bazaars this semester.I really liked this article of yours. I am looking into the bazaars dealing with clothes and garment.
Do you have any information on the delhi?
Or your local bazaars w.r.t. fashion?

Indian Bazaars said...

Anil: The conical mounts are really amazing. Whenever I look at them, I wonder how long it must take to get them into the cone shape and so neatly! Who first thought of the idea? How a vendor would want to ever break into it to give you what you come to buy?! But, then, he uses this only as his shop window, I guess.

Chitchat: There are two blogposts here on bazaars dealing with clothes. These are the links:

You might also want to look at this one: http://indianbazaars.blogspot.com/2011/02/design-inspiration-from-bazaar.html