The Dying Art of Mumbai Taxis
One of Mumbai's most distinctive sights - the intricately decorated, battered old taxis - are on their way out. A new law, to come into force later this year, will mean that sights like this will become a thing of the past...
Mumbai has over 50,000 black and yellow taxis - knackered Fiats, mostly from the 60s. All are personalised by their owners with distinctive typography and graphics that are applied by specialist artists who work from the roadside. Each one is unique, the artist creating the designs by hand using Letraset and sheets of stickers. Often they refer to the home district of the owner but may also include gods, nicknames and often ads for various companies.
Kurnal Rawat at Grandmother, one of Mumbai's top design studios, is documenting the taxis before they disappear - a new law will phase them in favour of a fleet of new cars equipped with air conditioning GPS and meters that actually work. Check out more on the project at Typocity.com, along with the rest of Rawat's typographic research projects on the Mumbai vernacular.
The new cabs will no doubt work a lot better and be much safer but they won't be as beautiful as the old ones. At least the trucks still look cool
And this auto rickshaw drives has some valuable advice for coping with the infamous Mumbai traffic
Myself Shubha A, have an passion to work in a designing field & also like to exhibit my Painting works, I finished my graduation in (B F A)Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) in Bangalore 2007. Passion to see nature in a vast vision, so like to have a research on it specially...
Most of my work looks like Nature in the form of abstract, presently working in IDIOM Design & Consul tent company..is their any opportunity, please let me now.
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Does this new law explicitly disallow the use of graphic images on the new taxis? Because if it does not, then I don't see a reason why this "art" won't continue, albeit in newer ways. Taxi graphics, Bollwood posters, etc may be "dying art forms", but to most of us, it is the end of an era. A great one at that. Thanks for the post!
I have a similar set of photos taken on Delhi roads- of couplets, quotes and slogans behind trucks and auto rickshaws. Click my name for the link.
As a native of the city I appreciate the post. Trucks and auto rickshaws too have such similar art. Nice one.
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