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St+art India: Lodhi Colony turns into a public art gallery with inspiring street art:Hand selected artists transform old, somewhat shabby building walls into grand street artworks meant to provoke thought. St+art started with the objective to beautify but preserve historic spaces.

NeverCrew at Lodhi Colony: St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

Borondo at St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

Gaia’s climate change based mural

© Akshat Nauriyal

Borondo at St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

Mahendra Pawar at St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

© Pranav Gohil

Mahendra Pawar, behind-the-scenes

© Akshat Nauriyal

© Naman Saraiya

Inkbrushnme at St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

The WIP Show: St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

A mural dedicated to Gond Art

© Akshat Nauriyal

The WIP Show: St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

AI3_17_2017_2_27_37_AM_Start_Delhi_2017_mainimage.jpg
Lab 15 Jan 2017

St+art-ing an art explosion in the city: The Delhi Edition

Lodhi Colony turned into an open-air art gallery when several artists from across the world arrived with paintbrushes, scaffolding and buckets full of colours to turn the streets into their canvas. Artists Mahendra Pawar and Borondo occupy spaces in Lodhi Colony, decking walls with art and converging their distinctive styles and techniques. But this was just the beginning as the next few weeks saw Asia’s largest dry port – ICD (Inland Container Depot) in Tughlakabad, Okhla turning into a backdrop for installations and paintings.

Taking art out of the gallery and bringing it to the streets inhabited by everyone has meant making the messages and motifs accessible, and has been the premise of St+art India. While street art has typically been associated with resistance and rebellion, these enormous murals created during St+art India festivals have gotten the thumbs up from local governance. However, the act of provoking thought has remained, if not become stronger, through the murals painted as part of St+art India’s 2016 edition, supported by Asian Paints.

St+art India: Lodhi Colony turns into a public art gallery with inspiring street art:Hand selected artists transform old, somewhat shabby building walls into grand street artworks meant to provoke thought. St+art started with the objective to beautify but preserve historic spaces.

NeverCrew at Lodhi Colony: St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

Borondo at St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

In Lodhi Colony, it was important for St+art to address the existing identity and environment. Built in the 1940s, Lodhi Colony was the last construction of British India and has been standing strong through the years – from the partition to riots and now an Art District, albeit with faded and spit-stained walls. St+art wanted to bring the historic space back to life. Working closely with the local community and government bodies, the Festival aimed to instill a sense of community pride and beautify the neighbourhood while preserving and enhancing its rich heritage. Keeping in line with this, a lane dedicated to traditional art forms saw various folk artists bring their stories and techniques to  the walls of Lodhi Colony. 

Gaia’s climate change based mural

© Akshat Nauriyal

Borondo at St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

One such artist, Mahendra Pawar, representing miniature painting, was invited to be a part of the lane. As the days go by traditional art forms find themselves lost in the rooms of a museum and St+art India wanted to change that, contemporizing and transferring them to walls where passersby will engage with them actively. Pawar painted warm reds, luminescent yellows and beautiful blues in his homegrown Shekhawati style on a flat surface. Typical to the style, geometric patterns and arabesque motifs were mostly hand-drawn amidst Lodhi’s colonial architecture. Created using acrylic paints, when it came to using a stencil for one part of the mural, Pawar was rather astonished by how quickly it helped him detail. However, he worked on detailing the rest of the wall for 20 days.

Mahendra Pawar at St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

© Pranav Gohil

While one wall was adorned with a miniature painting style, another saw Spanish street artist Borondo bringing an architectural piece to life outside a maternity hospital in Lodhi Colony. Known for working intensely with the context of the city and turning its walls into a sketchbook for a story, Borondo’s love for working in public spaces comes across through his dense and deeply meaningful composition titled ‘The origin of the world’. Interpreting the concepts of life and birth in his signature abstract style, Borondo used the façade of Lodhi over 6 days to paint an open arch across a wall. This image is now symbolic of St+art Delhi 2016.

Mahendra Pawar, behind-the-scenes

© Akshat Nauriyal

© Naman Saraiya

With a tree inhabiting the space, he painted the arch on either side stringing a metaphor for the origin of life while a meandering river flowing through reflects the journey. But if you choose to stop and stare, there is striking juxtaposition in Borondo’s interpretation, with soothing pastel colours and bold strokes mellifluously, of bringing together the life altering process of childbirth with the sense of calm that trees infuse into the neighbourhoods that they live in. Symbolic to journeys, the tree sprouts out of its little spot through the arch, just as children voyage from their mother’s warm arms to chilly landscapes, adapting as they sail through.

Inkbrushnme at St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

The WIP Show: St+art Delhi 2017

© Akshat Nauriyal

St+art India’s handpicked artists transformed scruffy walls with their bold strokes. Chifumi, a French artist explored the Indian hand gesture symbolizing a lotus flower in Lodhi Colony while Horus aka Arnab Sikder aptly titled his mural ‘Garb Age’ displaying the impact of consumerism on wildlife on a garbage disposal bin in Defence Colony. Inspired by an assortment of things, from newspaper headlines to overheard conversations, the people and streets of Delhi are as much a part of the paintings as the paintings are now part of their spaces.

A mural dedicated to Gond Art

© Akshat Nauriyal

The WIP Show: St+art Delhi 2017

© Pranav Gohil

For more information on St+art India Festivals visit http://www.st-artindia.org. Stay tuned for detailed pieces on St+art India Hyderbad 2016 & St+art India Bangalore 2016 festivals. 

Cover image © Pranav Gohil.