The pandemic has created an artistic legacy on Indian streets

A year in art.
A year in art.
Image: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis
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A year of the Covid-19 pandemic in India has already created a lasting legacy.

Street art, whether in the form of homages to Covid-19 healthcare and frontline workers or public service announcements, have sprung up across Indian cities.

Spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Delhi
A man rides his bicycle past a graffiti honouring healthcare and frontline workers in New Delhi.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Woman wearing a protective mask walks past a graffiti amidst the spread of COVID-19, in Navi Mumbai
Mumbai, which is currently witnessing a massive surge, also pays homage to its tireless doctors and healthcare workers.
Image: Reuters/Francis Mascarenhas
Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai
Mumbai’s artists add a sense of the post-apocalyptic world to the pandemic.
Image: Reuters/Hemanshi Kamani

There’s also room for classic Banksy-style wry humour in cities like Bengaluru.

While social distancing markers on pavements and streets correct behaviour, the murals add a cultural dimension to a pandemic that seems to be seeing a second wave in India.

Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai
Also in Mumbai, street markers for social distancing became more creative and playful.
Image: Reuters/Hemanshi Kamani

There’s a self-reflective playfulness also to be found in Bengaluru’s artists.

India’s Western Railway, which runs some of Mumbai’s suburban trains, also added a splash of colour to its local railway station.

Some artists chose to reinterpret classic Renaissance and modern painters in the context of Covid-19.

A man walks past a mural depicting the "Mona Lisa" wearing a face mask amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mumbai
Mumbai’s graffiti artists recreate Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” in the context of the pandemic.
Image: Reuters/Niharika Kulkarni
A man walks past a wall mural depicting Van Gogh's self-portrait but with a mask in Mumbai.
In 2021, a recreation of a classic Van Gogh self-portrait needs a mask for Covid-19.
Image: Reuters/Niharika Kulkarni

But it isn’t just India’s large metropolitan cities that see this creative energy. In Patna, the capital of the eastern state of Bihar, a large mural pays tribute to those on the frontlines.