Handpainted Words of Welcome.

London’s Southbank Centre was brightened up with a splash of sunny colour by the Alchemy Festival, with a significant chunk coming from the creativity of Hanif Kureshi and Painter Shabbu (Akhlaq Aahmad) who worked in situ on this impressive hand painted graphic artwork.

Taking influence from the typography of hand painted street signs seen across India, they took the opportunity to ‘Welcome’ visitors in a range of languages derived from the region. 

I love the the hand rendered 3d treatments and colour choices that were being poured into the display; a great counterpoint to the mute flat grey of the surround brutalist architecture, and one that I would suggest gets retained!

You can find out more about Hanif and Akhlaq at over at, a project dedicated to preserving the rich design heritage and typographic practices of India’s street painters. 

The festival has ended now, but SBC’s event page for this display can be found at

I love the vivid colours splashed across these messages.