Kochi’s Street Art



When I lived in Kochi, the only graffiti I knew was the clothing store next to Abad plaza hotel on M.G.Road. As an after-effect of the inaugural Kochi Muziris Biennale on Dec 2012, street art has been on a rise especially in the Fort Kochi area.

Below are some of the works of the anonymous artist(s), GuessWho whose posters I find, well-thought-out. They fuse recognizable western characters with the Kerala/Indian culture. I wonder if any conscious effort was taken to display each of these posters at locations relating to its subject. (E.g. The Bond poster outside a theatre or the KFC colonel on a hotel wall, etc.)

As per this article, GuessWho uses wheat posters, which may be faster to implement but would not last very long, kind of like movie posters. So you better rush to get your selfies taken next to them.

You wouldn’t be wrong in wondering if there was any influence of the British graffiti artist Banksy especially evident in the Shikari Shambu poster when compared to Banksy’s kissing coppers.

My favourite is the Joker poster which seems to be the most sensible fusion to me. I have taken liberties in interpreting some of these images and hope the artist(s) will not mind.

GuessWho_TheJokerThe Joker in Chakyar Koothu attire.  Chakyar Koothu is a traditional equivalent of the modern stand-up comedy act, incorporating commentary on current socio-political events (and personal comments directed at the members of the audience).

GuessWho_KFCColonel Sanders, known for KFC, flipping dosas

GuessWho_NasirBondEvergreen hero of malayalam cinema, Prem Nazir as the 007 agent.

GuessWho_CheRevolutionary leader Che Guevera in a lungi, smoking a beedi.

GuessWho_Marx_EngelsKarl Marx and Friedrich Engels as sadhus

GuessWho_MrBeanRowan Atkinson’s Mr.Bean as a namboodiri

GuessWho_MonaLisaMona Lisa as a traditional malayalee girl

GuessWho_MJThe King of Pop, MJ. A tribute to the Indian dance in ‘Black or White’ perhaps.

GuessWho_MarlynMonroeMarilyn Monroe with a ‘vilakku’ (lamp). 

GuessWho_paintersVincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali & probably Pablo Picasso.

GuessWho_ShikariSambuShikari Shambu kissing one of Tinkle’s villains. LGBT?

GuessWho_SupermanKuttusan and Dakini of Balrama’s ‘Mayavi’ fame as Superman & Wonder woman. Superheroes for the Kiss of Love campaign?

For the complete collection and location map, visit imgur.

For other street art in Kochi, read this.

Update: An interview by Kochivibe


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