One of the recent controversies developed in the city is the Budweiser murals issue. Budweiser is an internationally established alcoholic brand that originated years and years ago in the US.
As a part of its latest advertising campaign, the Budweiser company had painted murals of famous Argentine footballer Lionel Messi over the existing artwork on the walls of Hauz Khas, Delhi.
Apart from that, the walls even contained a QR code printed at the bottom which directs people to the website of the famous alcohol brand.
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Some of the murals were also spotted in Chapel Road in Bandra, Mumbai along with Hauz Khas village in Delhi.
The company in its response said that it had got the street walls painted in order to celebrate the Argentine player, by depicting his life and journey.
Why is there an issue over the Budweiser murals?
Back in 2014, Spanish artists Okuda San Miguel and Mariusz Waras somewhat began the culture of street arts in India by combining it with the traditional beliefs of the country.
They had explored “the conflict between the roots and capitalism in India” by painting forms of animals revered in Indian cultures, such as monkeys, cows, and bears.
All of these were crafted beautifully in a mural on the walls of SDMC primary school in Hauz Khas village. But in its recent advertising campaign, Budweiser murals took over the walls of the capital and replaced these paintings overnight.
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“Some of these artworks are very special for us — anyone who has visited Hauz Khas knows how they bring the area alive,” sighed a Delhi-based graffiti writer named Smog.
Many graffiti artists claimed that they used to get inspired by the artworks built on the walls and the sudden news of the incident made them sad.
What is the current situation?
The murals were painted in the year 2014 as a part of the St+Art Festival, which is the country’s first street art festival. Ever since then, these murals have remained preserved and are considered an integral part of the landscape of the village.
Sanjay Sahay, South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Director of press and information stated that no permission was taken from the MCDs, and action was taken as soon as the matter was brought into the limelight.
He further said that the QR code has been removed and those portions would be repainted.
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“There are so many walls in the city which could have been used. There was no need to use a wall that already had artwork on it. One has to understand that since it’s public property, and there is a popular sentiment around it as well. And on top of it, when the artwork is on a primary school wall, things need to be done more responsibly.”, said artist Hansif Kureshi, Artistic Director and Co-founder of the St+Art India foundation.
In its defense, the Budweiser company spokesperson said that the brand believed in the “power of art” and has worked with different artists over the years.
With inputs from Indian Express