St+Art India’s Hanif Kureshi says Budweiser has “suggested bringing back” street art murals that were replaced with ads
The alcohol brand Budweiser, which was recently accused of “hijacking” street art murals in New Delhi and replacing them with their own advertisements, has now said that they will be bringing back the old murals and will work with the original artistes to repaint the walls.
The issue came to light when Hanif Kureshi, co-founder of St+Art India pointed this out on Instagram on Monday.
Providing an update on the issue, Hanif wrote on his Instagram handle, “Budweiser India has reached out to St+art India, empathising on the current situation. Concerned that the efforts and sentiments of the artists and street art community have been hurt, they have suggested to bring back the impacted murals. Budweiser’s team will be working with the artists directly, in order to repaint the walls.”
Hanif had earlier posted pictures of two original street murals and the new Budweiser ones that had replaced them, calling it “blatant advertising in the name of street art.”
Budweiser’s ads had been painted there as a “tribute” to football legend Lionel Messi and featured him on both murals.
Hanif wrote, “It has taken many years for organisations such as ours to build the street art scene in India. One cannot simply hijack it OVERNIGHT. What used to be some of our earliest murals in Delhi - the ones by @okudart and @stencilcity at Hauz Khas Village - have now been turned into billboards for Budweiser overnight.”
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He also said one of the new murals by Budweiser had been painted on a school wall and said it was “unethical for an alcohol brand to advertise on a school wall.”
“This is not art. This is blatant advertising in the name of street art,” Hanif concluded.
A spokesperson from Budweiser India responded to these allegations and said their intention was to offer an “insider’s perspective into the G.O.A.T’s (Messi) iconic journey and inspire fans through creative murals that celebrated his journey.”
The spokesperson was quoted as saying, “We have always believed in the power of art and have worked with multiple artists over the years to build a strong foundation that is supportive towards the creator community. As part of curating these murals, we reached out to multiple artists including St+art India and collaborated with artists that met our creative and commercial direction through these illustrations that they curated over months and even restored the wall. Our aim was always to offer an insider perspective into the G.O.A.T’s iconic journey and inspire fans through creative murals that celebrated his journey. We continue to support the creator community.”