Art Comes Alive on Bangalore's Streets

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Artist Arpita performed at the city's busy Commercial Street

Bangalore:  Many Bangalore residents were left puzzled and amused in equal measure when a performance art festival took over some of the streets, flyovers and malls of the metropolis recently.

Project 560 -- a three-day festival that gets its name from the city's postal code - ensured that Bangaloreans took some time out of their hectic schedules to get a taste of art with a twist.

Six projects, sponsored by the India Foundation for the Arts, forced Bangaloreans to take a closer look at their daily surroundings.

Arundhati Ghosh, Executive Director of IFA, explained the concept behind the festival, "We are trying to explore the changing nature and history of the city."

Underneath concrete flyovers that have defaced the leafy neighbourhood of Basavanagudi in Bangalore, Vasudev, a performance artist, was dancing amidst the traffic in flowing white attire.

"White represents peace and it is in tune with nature. So even if I just stand, it keeps moving on its own," he said while explaining his flowing outfit.

In another part of the city, many Bangaloreans were puzzled to see performer Augustine Thilak packing bricks into a piece of cloth and carrying it around. He explained, "We tend to take on wishes and desires which weigh us down, which inhibit our freedom. So I weighed a ton, but I made myself clear of all those things; then I was able to move freely. "

Another part of the festival was taking place at one of the four towers, built in 16th century, which stands in the heart of the city.

A play tried to visualise what it would be like for a sentry, perched atop one of the towers, to keep an eye on the changes transforming the city lying beneath.

Meanwhile, on the busy Commercial Street, shoppers and shopkeepers alike came to a standstill to watch Arpita, who -- dressed in layers of clothes and a face painted silver - attracted quite a few amused comments.

While one passer-by thought she looked like "the Queen of England", another observed, "she is dressed as a ghost."

The festival may sometimes have been disconcerting, yet it definitely was a different experience for the IT city.

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