For too long the derelict walls of our national capital have been stained with paan, posters, urine and general apathy, crying out for a splash of colour and beauty. And in 2014, that colour and beauty was delivered in full. Recognising the plight of Delhi’s landscape, the past two years have seen a surge of vibrant colours, motifs and bold lines dyeing the once-filthy walls of the city, giving it a whole new life. With street art culture on the rise and the urban canvas growing towards public spaces, certain artists have beautifully transformed the capital’s walls with dynamic eye-catching visuals, injecting drab roadsides with a renewed vigour.
A larger than life portrait of Mahatma Gandhi adorns the 150-foot-tall outer wall of the Delhi Police headquarters; The Cat with the Woollen Yarn by Anpu Varkey has become a local landmark in Shahpur Jat village, and the 968-metre-long wall of Tihar Jail is painted with the poem Chardiwar written by Seema Raghuvanshi, a female inmate, and stands as India’s longest mural. These powerful works were produced as part of a larger street art festival by St+Art India launched in 2014. And now, to the delight of art lovers in the capital, the foundation is back in Delhi with the latest edition of the St+art Delhi street art festival, which took flight in December of last year and will continue to colour the city till February 2016.
“Street art has an entirely different perspective on art. The art world is unapproachable for the common man. In a gallery the intention is to go and see art. However in public spaces, such as Shahpur Jat, the art comes to you. It takes you by surprise and the impact is greater when you are not prepared. The street is a democratic medium. The space always comes first and this differentiates street art from other art,” stated Hanif Qureshi, co-founder and artistic director of the foundation, talking about the artwork done in Shahpur Jat in 2014.
The first phase of the festival saw national and international street artists from countries such as Japan, Netherlands and France collaborating to turn Lodhi Colony into a walk-in vivid public art exhibition, the Lodhi Art District. Taking the paint brush further, other venues include a Dustbin Collection Centre in Defence Colony, Lado Sarai and Govind Puri metro station, to name a few. Giving the city’s worn out walls a much-needed makeover, these artists have invoked every form of artistic expression to aesthetically transform Delhi, and every where we look, there’s more to come. ‘Work In Progress (WIP)-The Street Art Show’ is the upcoming exhibition that the team is currently gearing up for, with artists painting 100 shipping containers at one of Asia’s largest dry ports, the Inland Container Depot in Tughlakabad. A dry port being turned into a colossal and fascinating street art exhibition is truly a sight to be seen, so mark your calendars for February 1 and wait for the magic to unfold.
Scroll on for photographs of murals completed so far during St+art Delhi 2016, and to know more about the incredibly talented artists behind them. Further, for the curious artist in you, we’ve added a sneak-peek preview of Work In Progress (WIP) as the artists prepare their artworks and installations for the opening. So save the date and let the painter, illustrator, designer or amateur artist in you be inspired. [All images and artist information courtesy St+Art India foundation. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates and more information about their work.]