Australian graffiti artist Guido Van Helten is well known for blasting larger than life size murals and portraits of the people he gets inspired by onto the walls of buildings, factories, warehouses and so on. This year he was in Mumbai for the Sassoon Dock project. In collaboration with St+Art India, the Sassoon Dock Project was a month long festival that showcased the talents of many artistes worldwide.
In his time with the St+Art India project, he has painted 3 monument size portraits on the walls of a building in Sasoon Dock. These portraits are of three women who are basically fisher women in the Docks. Guido used to be a Graffiti artist in his younger days and so already has a close connection to the Hip Hop culture. In his time in Mumbai, he met up with SlumGods founder Bboy Akku. This was when he got introduced to the beautiful aspects of hip hop in Dharavi.
Akku took Guido through the whole history of the SlumGods and hip hop in Dharavi and this was what inspired Guido to create a masterpiece in the heart of Dharavi. He has stated that he used to be a lost teenager and graffiti then became his outlet. Those were the days he could channel that negative energy and make it into art which became positive. This was exactly what he observed with the SlumGods school.
This portrait spans the length of 2 buildings in Dharavi. It also showcases the pure energy and art that comes out of the Dharavi slums. It stands as a reminder of the positive energy that circles around the region. The portrait is of two bboy kids practicing their artform (breakdancing). Bboys Prokid and Abhishek were chosen for this portrait. It also captures an essential movement that goes on in and around Dharavi. This movement is on the rise in the region – Hip-Hop culture.
Larger Than Life
This gesture just goes how far that SlumGods have come as a movement and how far that they are taking it. Guido also has in a sense immortalized the Bboys in their youth. And this also acts as a great motivational boost. It has also loudly advertised the art form that they practice in the best way possible. Beautiful would be a small adjective to describe what has taken place here. This is a piece of art that needs to be pushed and we hope many more such artworks pop up in and around the city. Imagine a graffitification of Mumbai! Take a look at some of the angles on the portrait below!