May
06

The Great Wall of Mumbai in photos.

A wall is a continuous vertical brick or stone structure that encloses or divides an area of land. A wall can be used to divide us, create a border, constrain us or in some cases to keep us from harms way. There are many famous walls, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall, the West Bank Barrier.  In a more intimate level though they are all around us and many times we think nothing of them. For some people though, they view a wall as a blank canvas to be used as a conversation piece to express themselves and send out a message. It can be a positive message or one that will make you think twice about circumstances you may not have noticed before, but are happening all around you. This is often seen as Street Art and in many places is illegal and seen as an act of vandalism, but not on this wall.

In the heart of Mumbai, the most populous city in India lies a wall stretching 2.7km long from Mahim Metro stop to the Matunga Metro stop along the Tulsi pipe ride. It is a wall that separates the the train tracks from a pedestrian and vehicle street. It was the vision of Dhanya Pilo to transform this blank/gray wall into an open canvas for anyone to paint on without getting into trouble. She had her eyes on it for a long time, but never thought it would be possible to get the politicians to allow people to paint on it. That all changed in August of 2009 when she was granted permission to and over 400 people turned out to paint the walls. Since then the project has taken a life of it’s own with hundreds of pieces painted along the wall. The wall often referred to as “The Great Wall of Mumbai” is now a colorful canvas with messages of love, peace, dreams, change and lots of hope painted all over them. 

It’s been over two years since I visited India and y’all know when I left I said I never wanted to go back. I had a love hate relationship with India and have realized just about everyone does. The funny thing is I have been dreaming of going back ever since I left. I don’t know how she does it, but she just draws you in for life. During my time there one of my highlights was the week I spent in Mumbai. I loved that I got to be a Bollywood Extra for a day, but I also loved Mumbai. Mumbai reminded me of a European metropolis, but on steroids with life bursting from every corner of the city. It was different from every previous city I had visited in India. During my week there one of the highlights was visiting the Wall Project, because of my love for street art and it did not fail me. I have been wanting to share my favorite photo from there since then, but never got around to it until now. I took over 250 photos of the art covering the 2.7km wall and of them these 35 are my favorite. As you scroll through them look at the detail and the message that is trying to be conveyed. Some of the messages are subtle and other not so much, but in the end these are all messages that people all over the world are struggling with. If you take the time to look at these you will realize we are all the same no matter what corner of the world we are from. I love all of these photos, but the last one is my favorite because it just hits you in the guts with a message of despair, poverty and inequality that moves you.

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, IndiaThe Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, IndiaThe Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The Wall Project, India

The color, the detail, the messages are all so powerful in more ways then one. It’s amazing what the vision of one can do. In this case it transformed a blank wall into a canvas with over a million words. The paintings are conversation starters for many social issues happening in Mumbai at the moment that are relatable to everyone across the world in one way or another. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the Great Wall of Mumbai and the photographs I have shared above. Had you heard of this before? Do you know of any other cities that have done something similar to a wall in their city? You know my favorite… which one is yours?

PREVIOUS IN PHOTOS

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Comments

  1. If there is one thing about traveling in 3rd world countries that opens your eyes it is the despair, poverty and inequality. The same stuff exists to an extent in the 1st world, it’s just not in your face everyday. While I am sympathetic to it, I don’t get too worked up over it. It’s what makes the 3rd world the 3rd world. As travelers we are pretty much outsiders looking in, attempting to understand the dynamics from what we see, hear and read. If I can get in deeper than that, I feel lucky. At the end of the day, I am a traveler, not an NGO, The World Bank, The UN or a Peace Corps volunteer!
    Phil recently posted..36hrs Up The Irrawaddy, A Photo Journey

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Phil, I couldn’t have said it better. You are spot on with what it’s like to travel in the 3rd world as someone from the 1st world. We really are outsiders and nothing we do or see will make us know what it’s like. The fact of the matter is that it’s not our reality, but is for them. The thing about India is she really holds nothing back for no one. She is who she is and you are going to see it all. She hits you in the guts with a million emotions you won’t quite understand until you leave.

  2. Domenic says:

    Great post with some powerful messages. Can’t believe i didn’t see this or hear about it whilst I was in Mumbai or India in general, some great street art also with the underlining messages. I agree with you though, when I was in India even though it was only for about 6 weeks I loved it but felt tired, drained and ready to leave. But now it’s my favourite country i went to in in my travels, in Asia at least anyways. Can’t wait to go back there again soon.

    I like the colourful – bombay.. Making dreams alive art. Reminds me of how vibrant India and especially Mumbai is!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Now I wish I had written about this sooner or told you about it Domenic while you were there. I remember following along on your adventure there via all your tweets about India. India is a crazy beast she will break you down to your core and a second later lift you up so high you are left in awe. India will probably never be my favorite country, but it’s hands down one of my most memorable. My 3 months there were 3 months I will never forget and it’s crazy how much I still think about my time there. I am thinking of going back, but not sure when that would happen. As for this wall… oh man it was amazing and so worth the long walk to see all the amazing pieces created by the people of Mumbai. The messages are so powerful and seriously make you think about the situations you are going through.

  3. Hi Jaime,

    Interesting documentation of the wall in Mumbai. I wish the people of Mumbai respect art surrounding them in everyday life, just the way you have.

    Cheers.
    Mumbai Photographer recently posted..Elphinstone Road Wedding

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thank you so much MP. I loved the Wall so much and I love finding art all around me when I travel or even when I am just at home.

  4. Cannot believe I spend a month in Mumbai and did not see this! Did not even know if existed until today!

    Some really beautiful images here. Love the fact that, as you say, it shows how people across the world are really all very similar, with similar hopes and wishes and dreams.
    Catherine recently posted..Cheesecake: A Random Story

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh wow Catherine that is a shame… because it’s honestly an amazing wall to see. I hate when that happens to me… I will spend a few weeks somewhere and then after I leave hear about something amazing I should have seen but never even heard of it until after the fact.

  5. Great photos Jaime! I love the messages people decide to display in art like this. Even though a lot of the messages are unique to Mumbai or India, there are also so many that are universal, that you see in street art all over the world. People want to feel safe, they want love and food, they want crime and corruption to disappear, they want peace. And yet somehow the world is always fighting.
    Ali recently posted..Packing Made Simple: A Simple Guide to Packing Light e-book

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Ali & yes exactly… in the end we all want the same thing and they are universal to all. As for peace and fighting ah don’t get me started lol.

  6. I just hope that the people will keep the messages in the wall in their and mind to make a change. The murals are all sensible but hard to implement. It’s a great art, though.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh yes Jorja, it’s always hard to implement but I don’t think that is the point of Street Art. I think the point of Street Art is to share a message that will make you think about the situations and hopefully down the road you do change. Even if it is one person who changes it has done it’s job in making the world a better place. At least that is how I feel about street art.

  7. Amazing pictures man… this is also one of my favorite things to do in my trips… to take pictures of graffiti.

  8. Love the vibrant colors – great photos Jaime!

Speak Your Mind

*