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Budweiser's Lionel Messi Mural in New Delhi Triggers Backlash From Local Artists

Arjun Singh Devgan
Lionel Messi's mural done by Budweiser in India has come in for criticism
Lionel Messi's mural done by Budweiser in India has come in for criticism / Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Argentina and Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi is widely considered to be the greatest player in the history of the sport, with the striker an extremely popular figure all around the world due to his exploits on the pitch.

American beer company, Budweiser recently launched a new campaign in India which focused on the legendary career of Messi - with the manufacturer designing custom-designed bottles along with depicting murals of the footballer on the walls of Delhi and Mumbai.

In Delhi, Budweiser got a huge mural of football star painted in the iconic neighbourhood of Hauz Khas Village (HKV), with the mural being painted over existing graffiti that was created by Spanish painter Okuda San Miguel and Polish artist Mariusz Waras in 2014.

This move has not gone down well with a community of artists in the city, with urban art initiative called "St+art India" taking to social networking site, Twitter to share the pictures and stating that one cannot "hijack" pictures overnight.

"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", St+art India captioned its post on Instagram.

The controversy was further fuelled when it emerged that the murals were painted on the building hosting a primary municipal school, with such an action being branded "unethical".