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Colour me happy! Bengaluru restaurant walls are becoming canvases for local artists

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BENGALURU: Eateries in the city are turning into canvases for local and upcoming artists. The latter, in turn, are happy to have discovered a profitable platform to display their murals, installations and framed works.

Take the recent reinvention of Church Street Social, conceptualised by artist Lekha Washington and other local artists. The industrial look was replaced by an art-inspired décor complete with a massive hanging installation reflective of a swirling dervish, paintings and sound-reactive installations.

Managing director Riyaz Amlani said, “We have traditionally worked with architects and interior designers. This time, we wanted a fresh pair of eyes from a different discipline to reinvent our space.”

When Singkong at UB City was rebranded Sriracha last year, it took the art route too. The eatery dedicated its focal wall to a hand-painted mural that illustrates iconic pan-Asian imagery with a contemporary twist. “Art is a good conversation starter. It can also make a restaurant a landmark as artwork cannot be replicated,” says chef Vikas Seth.

This artwork was commissioned to local artist duo Agni Janakiram (33) and Gaurav Basu (31). “We studied the menu and incorporated elements like noodles, chopsticks and bowls into our mural,” says Janakiram, who has lapped up a few restaurant projects across India now. “Lesserknown artists like us get minimal exposure at art galleries. People love dining out which makes restaurants a good platform,” said the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath graduate.

Inspired by the street art of London and Berlin, interior designer Payal Khanna unleashed the trend at Street Mama eatery. Of the belief that art need not be restricted to museums, she got local artist Shunnal Ligade on board to make graffiti on walls including in the wash rooms.

“Bengaluru has a different vibe. People, especially techies, work hard and like to end their day by celebrating life. Art makes a place alive with unexpected and engaging visual imagery and keeps the restaurant-crew inspired too,” says Khanna.

Shizusan Shophouse & Bar collaborated with renowned artist Parbonni Bhowmik for its artworks. Blue Frog on Church Street is now collaborating with artist Vivek Aiyappa to paint a graffiti piece for its new music-inspired décor. Both artists are citybased.

“Enough has been done with plastic and inorganic material. Like music, art is human and builds a sense of community,” says the live music nightspot’s business development manager Kishan Baalaji.

According to Akanksha Chaudhary of Azure Hospitality, restaurants must now feel like home, driven by community and sub-culture concepts.

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