Delhi

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Art Districts

Lodhi Art District

Lodhi Colony, Delhi

2016 - ongoing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaAK6HFSlfI

In the initial months of 2015, St+art began work on India’s very first public art district. Located in the capital, Lodhi Colony is now known to the city, and the country, as Lodhi Art District. A project that began with the painting of two murals today contains sixty artworks by renowned Indian and international artists. Lodhi Art District is premised on an open-air, public walk-through gallery model.

Setting the precedent for the country’s to-be art districts, Lodhi helped us experiment, understand, and considerably build on our vision of creating art projects in public spaces. It allowed us room to come out of the conventional art gallery space and onto the streets of the cities we inhabit, making art accessible to all. It helped us shape the definition of what a public art district could look like and be, giving us a model to be replicated with suitable contextual modifications in other cities of the country. As of today, St+art has created six art districts designed as open-air art galleries, with the aim to reimagine neighbourhoods in cities through urban art.

The reasons for choosing Lodhi Colony as the location for the country’s first art district are plenty. Not only is the colony centrally located, easily accessible and within walking distance from major landmarks such as Lodhi Garden, Nehru Stadium, and India Habitat Centre, but it is also pedestrian-friendly. With its large sidewalks and well-spaced buildings, the colony is an anomaly in the topology of the city, which hardly has any walking culture.

More so, the buildings are symmetrically placed on the broad streets, allowing the viewer to have a great visual experience of every art piece. The concrete structures also adorn interesting elements like arches and windows, which in turn play with the artwork similar to the rich and diverse greenery that characterises the area. The walls of the colony are also devoid of any visual noise, such as hoardings and large signboards.

Over the years, the project has built a sense of community pride in residents, encouraged the maintenance of the neighbourhood, enhanced its visual identity, while also putting it on the global map. In a city with limited public spaces, Lodhi Art District is now open to everyone under the motto of 'Art for All'.

The Lodhi Art District began to take shape a year prior to St+art’s 2016 Delhi Festival. The idea of exploring Lodhi Colony as a potential space for doing a larger intervention had been planted in 2015 with the help of 2 artists - Lady Aiko from Japan, and DALeast from China.

The walls painted by Lady Aiko and DALeast in 2015 gave an understanding of the scope of larger projects in the neighbourhood, and also an insight into the response of the local community, which was mostly positive.

Lady Aiko Lodhi St Art 2015 2
Lady Aiko (Japan) -Rani Laxmi Bai .This piece was created using a bright palette and 299 paper stencils in 2015. Rani Laxmi Bai is a symbol of women empowerment across the country and the artist wanted to showcase this.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddvcvAagnD8
Daal East Finished 1 Print
DALeast (China)- Order in Chaos. Travelling through India, DALeast experienced the ‘order in chaos’ that is synonymous with the country. Drawing inspiration from that notion, he combined it with the philosophies of Buddhism to create a piece that speaks about the journey towards Nirvana — a flock of birds swarming and clamouring to get to the central arch, some make it, some fall by the wayside. The imagery is also a metaphor for the depleting number of spaces for birds and animals in urban cities and their will to survive within these unnatural settings.

In 2016, we began the mammoth task of creating twenty-six artworks across ten blocks of Lodhi Colony that would showcase some of the best artists and most diverse styles of the global urban art movement, while also providing a platform for traditional Indian art forms.

In the 2016 edition of St+art Delhi, thirty of the best street artists from across the world were invited to create artworks in this colony, simultaneously establishing it as an open-air, public art gallery.

The artists brought diverse stories and themes to the district - from talking about identity issues and gender politics to shedding light on climate problems. Staying true to the traditional nature of urban art, a lot of the artists used architecture and location as their muse.

Some works went beyond visual art and involved various communities in the most intimate and delicate ways.

As a result, amongst others, the project encouraged other creative individuals to express themselves. On any given day, you can find people recording videos against the artworks, doing photoshoots, conducting independently-led tours, or just clicking selfies. Throughout the course of creating the murals, the ground crew kept expanding - first with kids from the surrounding slums, who often follow the artists becoming their impromptu assistants, to gradually the elders of the colony and shop owners, who would often be found conversing with or bringing chai to the crew. People from different parts of the city and various colleges also came to be part of the reverie.

Avinash Kamesh Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Avinash & Kamesh (Gujarat, India) -The Tourist.The inspiration for this artwork comes from the social media and smartphone revolution. While working in Lodhi Colony, Avinash and Kamesh observed that a lot of people came every day to click pictures of the murals and the artists, while also taking selfies and group shots, or posing for fashion shoots. With this mural, the duo turned the lens towards the viewer, as a comment on the selfie generation and on the nature of street art as well. This art movement, in fact, has become so ‘trendy’ due to its openness, that its captivating visuals have inundated social media, making this phenomenon as popular on the web as it is on the streets.
We love Delhi Lek And Sowat final lodhi Colony Photo Akshat Nauriyal
Lek & Sowat (France) and Hanif Kureshi (India) -We Love Delhi. Before they landed in India, Lek & Sowat were intrigued by the idea of collaborating with Indian hand-painters and wanted to use a lot of colour in their work. Post discussions with Hanif, Sowat decided to paint characters resembling Sanskrit letters to form a base, which Lek then half erased with water to create an effect that they describe as 'colour rain', drawing inspiration from the festival of Holi. After speaking with the children of the community who played cricket at their site every day, they decided to write the text 'We Love Delhi' in Hindi that Hanif painted on top of their Sanskrit cyphers to create a piece which everyone in the neighbourhood could relate to and enjoy.
Hendrik ECB Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Naman Saraiya
ECB Hendrik (Germany) -Lavanya (Grace). This is the portrait of Vimla, a lady that works at Old Khanna Market in Lodhi Colony where she sells paranthas (Indian bread) on the streets. Executed just in shades of grey, the painting is meant to merge into its surroundings, seeking an aesthetic similar to an old etching. Captivated by her sense of independence and dedication, Hendrik dedicates the piece to women who have several struggles in their lives and have to perform multiple roles, yet maintain the utmost grace in all their endeavours.The mural is also a reminder to seek beauty in the ordinary.
Daku Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Pranav Gohil
DAKU (India) -Time Changes Everything. Inspired by Egyptian sundials, Daku decided to use shadow as a medium to talk about the ephemeral nature of life. The typographic piece ingeniously visualises the concept of time by playing with letters that cast an evolving shadow through the day, speaking metaphorically of all the things in life that change over time. Every day, throughout the year, this piece comes alive between 9AM to 3PM and disappears with the fading sun.
Senkoe Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
SENKO (Mexico) -Colours of the Soul. Across several cultures, birds are a symbol of diversity, identity and freedom. Often seen as migratory travellers, birds are creatures that see and experience many different places and have a lot of stories to tell. One of the most popular walls of the art district features Senkoe’s vibrant artwork which represents the colourful diversity of the people who live there. Always mindful of the architecture of the facade he’s painting on, Senkoe merges the architecture of Lodhi into his narrative by skillfully converting the central arch into a bird’s nest. The patterns that adorn the painting represent a unique blend between Indian and Mexican motifs, highlighting the similarities between these two cultures. The background contributes to the piece by giving a clay-like texture and emphasising the importance of traditions and handmade artisanal practices that are relevant to both countries.
Never Crew Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Naman Saraiya
Nevercrew (Switzerland) - See Through / See Beyond. Nevercrew painted the astronaut, a recurring character in their paintings symbolising the greatness of mankind’s achievements, at the top of the wall as a metaphor for someone who can see things from a different perspective, a silent viewer of a larger picture. In this case, he is a witness to the daily activities of Lodhi Colony. A white light can be seen entering the meteor, and after passing through it gets refracted, a commentary about how everyday occurrences when viewed with artistic or creative vision become something more.
Shoe Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman (Netherlands) -Sans Serifs, No Letters. For this mural, Shoe did something he has never done before — he painted a poem that he wrote himself. Being a writer for over 35 years, Shoe combined several influences, his love for lettering mixed with calligraffiti, along with his love for plants, to create this piece. He used traditional Indian brooms made of dry grass available at every corner shop to show how nature is the original creator and the artist is a catalyser of its messages. This piece also relies on the integration of traditional elements- such as natural brooms and calligraphy - and the urban reality of graffiti.
Blaise Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Blaise Joseph (Kochi, India) -Amma. For his wall in Lodhi Colony, Blaise chose to make the portrait of a mother figure who has diverse manifestations, as mother nature she is carrying the memories of lost lands. In an urban context, our cities are becoming concrete jungles, inhabited by people who are migrants in one way or another. The concrete jungle is a reminder of their own mothers and mother nature is represented in the forests and agricultural lands that they have been compelled to leave behind. She also represents indigenous communities who are pollinators and can sustain ecological diversity with the knowledge they possess, yet who are forcibly displaced from their homelands. The mother painted in this artwork is in the image of Blaise's own mother who currently resides in Kerala.
Don t let this symbolism kill your heart Nafir Full Wall Lodhi Photo by Naman Saraiya
Nafir (Iran) - Don't Let This Symbolism Kill Your Heart. After spending a few days in India, Nafir felt that India like Iran is a place where women are subjugated. The piece is a commentary on women’s rights in the eastern part of the world and depicts the profile of a woman shadowed by traditional thoughts and customs. The Persian motifs on the face of the woman are a symbol of this intricate and at times oppressive culture, which on the other hand is extremely rich and actually lead by women. Nafir painted an antenna around the woman’s neck to highlight the hypocrisy of our current social system. It symbolises the contradiction of the lives of women as depicted on the internet versus the lives they actually live.
Vishvaroopa Inkbrushnme final lodhiartdistrict photoby Akshat Nauriyal
Inkbrushnme (Pune, India) -Vishwaroopa. In this piece, Inkbrushnme continues to explore concepts of Indian mythology that are a recurring theme in his work. Vishwaroopa is an all-encompassing omniform of Vishnu and marks the beginning of the 18-day battle of Mahabharata. Vishnu manifests in his cosmic grandeur hypnotising Arjuna, the supreme warrior and shows him that all universal matter, animate and inanimate is him. The artwork contains various faces, which include some popular avatars of Lord Vishnu (such as Matsya the fish avatar or Varaha, his boar avatar), some fictitious characters, and even new-age pop characters like Yoda. Harsh Kadam conceived this piece to bring mythology back into our daily lives in a contemporary manner.
Harsh Raman Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Harsh Raman (New Delhi, India) -Katha Crazy Twins. Harsh Raman reimagined Kathakali, a traditional dance form from the South of India that synthesizes facial and hand gestures to narrate folk stories. A practice that traces back to 200 BCE, Harsh contemporised its imagery by mixing pop culture references from the 90s such as the Pac-Man video game, a stereo system, a vinyl player and of course Batman, in an attempt to connect with both local and global audiences across different generations. As the mural unravelled, many local children were energized by its playful aesthetic and joined the process of painting along with the artist. To keep the spirit of this spontaneous interaction alive, Harsh has left the lower part of the two characters’ bodies black as a chalkboard - an open canvas for the kids to draw and explore their creativity while feeling like an integral part of the Lodhi Art District.
Mahendar Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Pranav Gohil
Mahendra Pawar (Samode, India) - Miniature Painting. With the advent of technology and digital printing, a lot of old Indian hand-painted traditions are being forgotten, Shekhawati painting (miniature art) being one of them. Plant-like arabesques, architectural features and geometric patterns are common motifs on the panels that divide the walls and on the spandrels of arches in Shekhawati paintings. This piece is in continuation with St+art India Foundation's endeavour of being inclusive of indigenous art forms while collaborating with international street artists to create India's first Public Art District.
Dwa zeta Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Dwa Zeta (Poland) -Pink. For their wall in Lodhi Art District, DWA ZETA chose abstract forms that reflect the flow and infrastructure of Delhi’s streets — the flyovers and roundabouts — that reflect their impressions of the hectic, crowded, yet potent and colourful nature of the capital. They felt that the city is lacking in equality for women, therefore, they chose bright pink as the background colour for their wall to figuratively mark the female element in a public space, paying tribute to women who are afraid of being visible, to empower them, reclaim their space and establish the city as their own.
Gaia Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Gaia (USA)- How is Global Warming. Through his mural, How is Global Warming, American artist Gaia addresses the issue of climate change. Around the central arch, he draws a juxtaposition between Shish Gumbadh that sits in the Lodhi Gardens and a Victorian Botanical Garden, playing with the concept of greenhouse gases. This is flanked by two hands emerging from the water to signify hope and despair, along with an inflated globe and one deflated globe, to show the effect that globalization has on our planet.
Anpu Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Anpu Varkey (Bangalore, India) - Lava Tree. Anpu continues to push her boundaries as an artist by exploring newer forms in her work, like this mural in Lodhi Colony. From the deep recesses of a dreamscape, perpetuating the flow of lava, the tree poses to consume the entire building, shadowing the menace of our minds.
Amitabh Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Amitabh Kumar (Bangalore, India) -Dead Dahlias. This mural is informed by the historical context of the site and the graphic possibilities that it has opened. The root of the image is a story. When the Pandavas lost the first game of dice, they were exiled to Khandavaprastha, the city of ruins. Krishna, who accompanied them in their exile, magically turned Khandavaprastha into Indraprastha, The City of Gods, often thought to have been located in the region of present-day New Delhi. This city that was made of magic is now crumbling. Through this intervention, the artist would like the viewer to catch its crumbling pieces and vanish. A metaphor for the city of Delhi which, Amitabh feels is falling apart but can still be regenerated. Public art in Lodhi Art District may be one of the signs of its rebirth.
Borondo Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
​​Gonzalo Borondo (Spain) -The Origin of the World. Responding to the maternity hospital across the road, this piece is Borondo’s take on the famous painting of the same title by Gustave Courbet. He uses the open arch in the middle of the wall and the tree which inhabits it as a metaphor for origin — a river, the source of life, flows through the arches into infinity and a boat that reflects the journey of life. Borondo regards this entire scene as synonymous with the birth of a child, who has to pass through a mother's womb to begin its journey. This painted perspective seems abstract when viewed up close but it reveals itself when observed from a distance, exactly like life.
Suiko Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Suiko (Japan) -The Lotus. Suiko takes the national flower of India and re-imagines it with his signature curved lines and Japanese characters to create this mural for the Lodhi Art District. Being a pioneer of the graffiti art movement in Japan, Suiko explores newer ways of writing his name, a constant element in all his figurative compositions. By incorporating the tones and colours of the neighbourhood along with a red sun that denotes Japan — the land of the rising sun — Suiko has left behind a unique gift for the people of Lodhi.
Chifumi Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Chifumi (France)- Padma . One of the first pieces made in the Lodhi Art District, this mural was inspired by Padma Mudra — a symbolic Indian hand gesture to depict a lotus. The piece is a celebration of the Indian national flower as well as the values it symbolizes: enlightenment, purity, wisdom. The mudra is framed by Khmer patterns from Cambodia that is reminiscent of the Mughal patterns characteristic of Delhi's heritage. The colour palette used for this piece has also been inspired by the shades of Lodhi Colony with its soft pink walls and greenery all around.
Fusion Art Rakesh Kumar Memrot lodhicolony final photo by Akshat Nauriyal
Rakesh Kumar- Fusion. Created in the Gond style of painting, the mural emphasises the importance of maintaining a balance within the ecosystem. It sheds light on the issue of the receding natural habitat that causes an adverse impact on the animals that occupy this space. Rakesh ingeniously optimises the wideness of the wall by centring the composition around an elephant whose tusks grow into branches that scale the length of the wall while playing with the shadows of the real trees in a complete integration between the mural and the surroundings. He combines the traditional style of painting with the modern technique of stencilling, and has called this mural Fusion Art.
From your strenght I weave beauty Shilo Final Photo By Pranav Gohil
Shilo Shiv Suleman (Bangalore, India)- From Your Strength, I Weave Beauty. Shilo and The Fearless Collective worked with the women of Sewing New Futures to create this piece that talks about the hidden lives and sadness of generations of trafficked women. Two women, one old and the other younger, can be seen emerging from the mist of Delhi to reveal their stories, fearlessly demystifying their presence. The Sewing New Futures team engaged women subjected to trafficking in the Najafgarh community in a participatory process to help bring this piece to life. Throughout the week-long painting of the wall, the girls converted the entire block into a party, with music blaring through speakers and girls in their colourful attire — it was a celebration of the woman spirit.
Reko Rennie Reveals Lodhi Art Dist St Art Delhi 2016 Akshat Nauriyal
Reko Rennie (Melbourne, Australia)- Original Aboriginal. Reko worked in close collaboration with a team of Indian painters, interacting with local communities and their artistic traditions. His work is a contradiction of cultural reference points, from traditional geometric patterning of the Kamilaroi people to contemporary New York graffiti, combining elements of pop art with geometric abstraction.
Swatcha Barat Wall Final painter Kafeel Photo by Pranav Gohil 1
Painter Kafeel- Swachh Bharat. Painter Kafeel and his team painted Swachh Bharat in his signature style using bold typefaces. Created in collaboration with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), this mural is both a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation and a promise to keep the city clean. By involving these local street painters, who have been rapidly going out of business with the advent of local DTP (Desktop Publishers), St+art India Foundation aims to support this art form and restore its presence in the contemporary practice while spreading positive messages.

Having been acquainted with the enormous potential of Lodhi Colony in 2016, works continued to be added to the art district in the following years.

In 2017, we invited Brazilian duo Bicicleta Sem Freo, who usually work together, to simultaneously yet individually paint two walls, facing each other. Canadian artist, Aaron Li-Hill also created a call for action by depicting the local realities of climate change in India and Canada.

Bicicleta sem Freio (Brazil) -Facing Walls. Despite usually working together, the duo, this time, worked individually on two parallel walls for Lodhi Art District. The idea was to present two Brazilians in love with colour, and have them interpret the local Indian flora and fauna. The vibrant walls organically blend with the context, and the elements pop with their psychedelic colours and flowing forms. Douglas, who had explored the city’s parks and gardens, portrayed various forms of leaves and flowers that he had observed. He was fascinated by the element of the hands which he saw painted in several shapes and contexts all around Delhi. On the other hand, Renato’s work is centred around the Oriental Pied Hornbill. A dense flow of various shapes seems to emerge from the ground, embracing the bird and creating an engaging scenario for the viewer.
Gabriel Reveals St Art Lodhi 2017 Pranav Gohil 1
Gabriel Specter (USA) -Dreams of India .Gabriel depicts the onlooker’s viewpoint on the complex multiplicity of Indian religion and spirituality. The drawn stage curtains reveal a transcendental gateway formed around the central arch representing the link between reality and a dream-like state.

In 2018, artist Saner used his observations from his first visit to Old Delhi to create a piece that blends Indian and Mexican imagery. He depicted diverse flora and fauna in the mural to give expression to his belief that the natural world connects us together by giving us a spiritual understanding of life.

Saner Reveals Akshat 12
Saner (Mexico) -Balance in Mind and Spirit. Saner used elements he observed in his first visit to Old Delhi, creating an enchanting piece that blends together Indian and Mexican imageries. In dialogue with the architecture, a man and a woman frame the arch of the building and face each other, representing the order and balance in the universe. Their clothes and adornments identify Mexican and Indian traditions and create a bridge between the two cultures which share several similarities, such as indigenous spirituality, the relation with nature and the usage of colours. The diversity between the two countries is instead highlighted by the flora and fauna depicted at the bottom of the mural. This is an important motif for Saner as he believes that the natural world connects us by giving a spiritual understanding of life. The open floral heart on top of the arch is a symbol of this togetherness that repeatedly appears within most of his murals also reminding us to channel self-awareness and perseverance in our daily life to find peace between each other.
Li Hill
Aaron Li-Hill (Canada) - Nature’s Arch and Visions of Altered Landscapes. One of the recorded harsh effects of climate change is the rapid loss of natural habitat. In the wake of this degeneration due to our negligence, Aaron Li Hill created a call for action in the form of a mural by depicting local realities from India and Canada. Using the symmetrical architecture of Lodhi as a compositional input, the artist mirrored two seperate parts of the globe, both equally affected by climate change. While on the left side of the mural there is an Indian boy and a tiger representing the eastern part of the world, on the right there is a polar bear and a woman representing the west. With a striking use of spray cans and dripping brush strokes, Aaron imprinted these characters with speed and strong movement to indicate optimism and the power we all have to bring about a change in our world before it completely dissolves.

Artworks added during St+art Delhi 2019 contributed significantly to shaping the district’s present form. In 2019 the Lodhi Art District had 56 murals made by artists from 25 countries. A diverse artist representation ensured that concepts driving the artworks were equally varied to give us a peek into the present global zeitgeist.

On their maiden visit to the country and the neighbourhood, many international artists found themselves filled with wonder, encountering a world that was vastly different from theirs. India’s, especially New Delhi’s and Lodhi’s, myriad sights, smells, and histories inspired these artists’ pieces, who translated them into vibrant murals on the walls of the colony, representing their interpretation of our country’s culture.

Artists also incorporated architectural elements exclusive to the walls in Lodhi to fashion their artworks accordingly, or to highlight particular aspects of their piece. German artist Bond was so impressed by the nuances of Lodhi Colony’s walls that he painted his signature in synergy with their texture. Art collective Majlis Art Forum used the trees in front of their wall to convey a powerful message through their artwork, made in tandem with the trees.

To draw attention to a pertinent problem of the day, many artists chose to depict present ecological realities, not only of New Delhi but of cities across the world in their respective pieces.

The 2019 festival also witnessed the addition of augmented reality pieces in a public space for the first time. While reimagining public spaces, these pieces sought to engage their audience using the most contemporary forms of media. Several other pieces attempted to incorporate socially relevant themes like women empowerment, gender injustice, disappearing traditions, and the growing reach of social media in their conceptualisation and execution.

Yip Yew Chong Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 22
​​Yip Yew (Singapore)- Impressions of Lodhi. Yip Yew used his semi-realistic style to paint a mural inspired by the sights, sounds, and smells of Lodhi Colony. When he arrived, he took a stroll across the bustling neighbourhood market and the nearby Lodhi Garden where he saw colorful shawls and smelled the aroma of sweet masala chai (tea) and ‘mithaai’ (sweets). Through this mural, the artist wanted to trigger a sense of nostalgia for the passersby. The simplicity that is still part of Lodhi’s landscape - from the sound of a flute seller, to the ubiquitous sights of cows and children studying on open terraces, has disappeared from many neighbourhoods in New Delhi. Therefore, this mural is Yip Yew’s way of offering a moment frozen in time, in which everyone can reminisce on their own memories. It also celebrates Lodhi Colony as a heartwarming neighbourhood in which community living is still a big part of life, something that is to be admired, and preserved. The artist also created interactive sections in the painting which invite viewers to become a part of the mural - from having a cup of tea, to becoming a part of the barber shop!
Nes Poon Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 15
​​NeSpoon (Poland)- Delhi. For this mural, Nespoon adapted her style of integrating the white lace tradition of Europe with shapes inspired by Indian patterns and local flowers. After meeting women associated with ‘Insha-e-Noor’ - a women’s livelihoods initiative of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, NeSpoon decided to use red and orange as a response to the vibrant colourful Saaris she saw all around, as well as the flowers of the Sahmal trees characteristic to Delhi. This was also the first time NeSpoon used colour in her work. This piece celebrates the similarities between European and Indian women's crafts and patterns, giving them a contemporary urban dimension through street art.

This mural culminated on 8th March 2019 with a special program on this street featuring diverse voices to speak about and celebrate womanhood at large. The female folk singers of Kathputli Colony opened the event with songs about strength and freedom, while artist Sonia Khurana in conversation with curator Myna Mukherjee spoke about the role public art plays in amplifying feminist discourse for everyday people.

The same stage was shared by Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India

and Lakshmi Puri, former Assistant Secretary-General at the UN and former Deputy Director of UN Women who joined in this celebration which was proudly supported by the European Union.

This vibrant program was attended by all - from government dignitaries to the local hawkers who work on this street every day - showcasing the perfect example of how public spaces can be utilised for public causes.

Corin Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 3
Corin Kennington and Harry Fieber (United Kingdom) ‘Untitled’ . Given the harmonious intersection between their practices, Corin and Harry have been collaborating on several projects, such as this one in Lodhi. When the artists arrived in India, they were inspired by the hand-painted signages found on trucks, shops and billboards. The duo decided to take that as a starting point and explored a colour palette which responded to the colours most often used by local sign painters. This exploration led to an abstract landscape which wraps around the wall and opens it up to the viewer. Due to the treatment of the extremely flat and solid colours flowing within sharp lines, the piece appears to be digitally printed, even though it is completely hand-painted. The hand-painted traditions have slowly been disappearing across the world, especially in India with the advent of digital printing techniques. Yet it is a tradition extremely rich in creativity, geographical specificity and above all, is absolutely unique. Hence this piece is an homage to the hand-painted tradition at large.
Yoh Nagao Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 19
Yoh Nagao (Japan)- The Light Fort. In his above mentioned style, Yoh Nagao painted what he calls, a light fort, to signify the themes of togetherness, inclusion and hope with a vibrant use of pop culture references from India and Japan. Now seen on everyday life objects, the artist painted Goddess Laxmi’s hand that preserves a rose representing a welcome symbol to remind us of the Indian tradition of अतिथिदेवो भव (‘The Guest is God). This hand becomes a central force within the mural, guarding the fort’s vision of an inclusive future. The ‘Jaali’ (latticed screen) which frames the colorful patterns on the facade within its blue outlines merges Indo-Islamic visuals and architecture seamlessly in the mural. While the patterns of spikes symbolise protection, derived from Ainu Tribe of Japan which Yoh draws his ancestry from, reminding people to look after each other. A confident red sun - the Japanese national symbol - shines through the tree remembering Japan’s definition as ‘the land of the rising sun’.
Daan Botlek Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 1
Daan Botlek (Netherlands) Belly Dance - The Reincarnation of R, G and B. In Lodhi Colony, Daan addresses one of the most delicate and important themes of the history of art - the definition of the human body. By manipulating the human form, he transforms its purpose and scale to depict an infinite outcome in meaning and context, or what he would call “a game of relativism, proportions and curiosities”. Within this game, his giant silhouettes open up smaller characters from their bellies in a never ending reincarnation cycle - also comically echoing the infamous condition of the ‘Delhi Belly’. The artist solely used the colors Red, Blue and Green - a combination that repeatedly appears in different corners of Lodhi Colony. He translated them in the form of blue skies, red bombax cieba flowers and the shiny green trees. Moreover, situated on a busy road in the colony, the effect of seeing these characters going through a never-ending transformation amplifies as people move through rush hours within cars, scooters or even on foot, just like the characters Daan depicts.
Andreco Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 2
Andreco (Italy) Climate Change 05 - Reclaim Air and Water in New Delhi. Andreco’s aim for the ‘Climate Art Project’ is to underline the primary environmental weakness in each territory where the interventions take place. He does this by first investigating and then promoting the best possible solution for climate justice. In New Delhi, the artist’s focus was on pollution of the air and water bodies, which he translated into a mural and a participative parade in Lodhi Colony. Andreco’s mural wraps the facade in a circular motion that showcases the transition of toxic emissions found within air and water into healthy clouds and wetlands. On the left part of the wall, the artist painted pollutant emissions, greenhouse gases and dust particles such as Pm 10. He used ‘Air Ink’, a unique black ink invented by MIT Pune which repurposes real air pollutants into ink. To support the mural, he added infographics to the wall which were taken from studies by IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), NEERI (National environmental Engineer Institute) and CSE (Centre for Science and Environment).The statistics explore the correlation between rising global temperatures and an increase in these pollutants over the years. From this left part describing the current scenario the composition flows to the right, where clean clouds and wetlands represent a hopeful future. A tree emerges from the middle of the arch, acting as a weapon to combat climate change and bring this future to life.
David Leitner Reveals Lodhi Colony St Aart 2019 Pranav Gohill 5
David Leitner (Austria) Untitled Through his work, David Leitner often explores the polarities that exist in urban cities and how they affect our surroundings. In New Delhi, he observed an abundance of age-old traditions still present in the folds of modern-day life, while simultaneously noticing the hazardous pollution caused by the incessant consumption of single-use plastics. Identifying this as a dangerous contrast, the artist depicted this reality in the mural we see in front of us. David optimised the 'visible' spots across the wall to leave visual cues where women dressed in traditional Sarees appear as the powerful keepers of our traditions and heritage, while their surrounding environment is seen at risk due to public negligence. When viewed from a distance, this monochrome composition may offer a moment of relief from the 'colourful chaos' of Indian streets. But its jarring details coupled with factual data such as “In India, out every 10 lakh plastic bottles bought, only 9% get recycled” and “8 Lakh plastic waste enters the sea every year” trigger a wake-up call for citizens to build local solutions for waste management.
H11235 Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 19
H11235 (Nepal) - I am here. H11235 decodes the ecological problem of the Yamuna river by juxtaposing an image of a goldfish and a plastic bottle. Over the years there has been an immense loss of natural habitat within the Yamuna - not just as a result of the rampant disposal of plastic and man made materials, but also with the introduction of alien species such as the 'Gold Fish' which have adversely affected the biodiversity of the river. To highlight this issue, the artist used his striking brush strokes with a signature digital look to strongly emphasize on the contrast between the natural and the artificial, addressing the very pertinent and local problem of Delhi and Yamuna river pollution, and that of the country’s rivers in general. The image of the goldfish is broken down with a plastic bottle floating within it and a calligraphic text, ‘Ma yaha chu’ (I am here) repeatedly layers onto the image. This text is written in a traditional ethnic script from the Newari community in Nepal, from which the artist draws his ancestry.
Aravani Art Project Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 14
Aravani Art Project (Bangalore, India) Trans Lives Matter. Aravani Art Project gave an emblematic ode to trans-people who have contributed towards the upliftment of their community. With a vivid usage of colors, the collective painted portraits of diverse people to showcase a symbolic unity relating back to their process, which is fundamentally based on inclusivity. In an effort to consistently break stigma against the trans community by engaging with diverse audiences, this mural was painted in front of the ‘N.P.CO-ED Senior Secondary School’ in Lodhi Colony. “As we painted over here for seven days, it was heartwarming to see so many mothers come up to us with positive responses as they waited for their children. Few were surprised, while many congratulated us for the work and showed us their support,” reflected Poornima. As one of the best examples of a participatory art project in the Lodhi Art District, 8 transwomen and several volunteers painted this mural together to break the gender initiated binaries and bring to the forefront resilient identities.
Manolo Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 19
Manolo Mesa (Spain) About Dreams and Reality By decoding histories that are both personal and collective, ceramics have been a constant case of study in Manolo’s work. They have slowly unravelled themselves as symbols of resistance to the homogenization of industrialised products. While studying the practice of hand-made ceramics intimately, Manolo acknowledged the figure of the woman as the forebearer of this tradition in India and across other countries. Often, the craft has flourished and been broadly celebrated, but what has often been left out are the real storytellers. Echoing this reflection, Manolo painted the image of a woman partially hidden by a pot. The image, almost magically repeated twice, activates a sense of recognition from the viewer while paying homage to the knowledge bearer - women all over the world - from whom he, and many others, have inherited this timeless craft.
Sajid Wajid Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 2
Sajid Wajid Shaikh (Mumbai, India) - Shakti. Sajid Wajid Sheikh and his team - Rajesh Bhadhreshwara and Mahesh Kamble - painted an ode to womanhood for the Lodhi Art District. The artist sapiently contemporised the Art Nouveau style, elegant and feminine, developing a piece with women portraits intertwined with natural elements. Women are seen as creators of life and likened to mother nature herself. The primary colors, and their diffused shading, gave the composition an enchanting flow in which every shape stands out with strength and elegance. The decision of locating this piece in front of N.P.CO-ED Senior Secondary School was a strategic one with the aim that women who wait for their children to come out of the school identify themselves within the mural, seeing themselves and their kids intertwined in this celebration of colors and diverse identities, and also spreading a positive message to the young students.
Sameer Kulvoor Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 2
Sameer Kulavoor (Mumbai, India) - Social Media Friendly Plants. In this mural, Sameer Kulavoor depicted a new way of understanding algorithms in the new millennium. Algorithms were once a set of rules followed to solve calculations embedded into our computers. Now algorithms create social media networks that control everything from the way we think and what we eat to how we live and who we make love with. Over the past few years, certain plants seem to have gained popularity on social media and as a result one can spot them everywhere - in cafes, at homes, offices, indoor/outdoor parks, and in selfies. The artist laid down this thought through a composition arranged seemingly as an instagram grid, consisting of elements that replicate themselves into an algorithm. Thus, in the mural some individuals are seen photographing these plants, while other take selfies - now a very common sight in Lodhi Colony as well. It is a take on how the visiting public of the art district has been seen compulsively capturing street art and themselves, which, just like the plants, is a social media phenomenon. Through this clever and ironic commentary, the artist highlights these low maintenance ‘pretty-pinterest-plants’ as he calls them, and their fast-fashion character, almost playing with the viewer when giving out his piece for a photo to ‘garner a few hundred likes' easily.
Alaniz Reveals Lodhi colony 2019 Pranav Gohil
Alaniz (Berlin)- Flowers of Dharavi . Alaniz’s mural in the Lodhi Art District features the portrait of a girl he had met in the Dharavi region of the city of Mumbai. Created using fast motion brush strokes, the portrait can be seen nestled between a string of blooming flowers and birds taking flight. It seeks to represent the spirit of India, while depicting the warm memory of the artist’s interaction with the mural’s protagonist. The mural aims to evoke a sense of warmth in the viewer – depicting the warmth of his memory at once, while framing its ephemeral nature in a vibrant mural on this wall in Lodhi Colony.
Georgia Hanif Reveals Lodhi Art District 2019 Pranav Gohil 6
Georgia Hill (Australia) and Hanif Kureshi (India) This Must Be The Place/Yahaan. Georgia Hill began using the phrase, ‘This Must Be The Place’ as a tag on the streets in varied mediums and contexts to explore the sense of belonging communities have with their surroundings. In India, her collaboration with Hanif led her to explore a site specific version of this statement. Embedded within this piece, in an abstract manner, are the words ‘Must’ and the Hindi word ‘Yahaan’ (Here) almost dissolved within the radiating black and white lines. Reading like an optical illusion, both words converge to reflect on the multiplicity in belonging that exists in most urban cities across the world, and in Lodhi - a neighborhood once known for its colonial history, now identified as a hub for street art in the city.
Majlis Group Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 10
Majlis Art Forum (New Delhi, India) - Gracious Heritage. Fifteen artists from the collective got together to bring to life their first large public art mural. In a celebration of the pockets of greenery embedded within Lodhi Colony’s landscape and Delhi at large, the artists created an artwork which establishes a dialogue with the trees in front of the wall to paint a dream like image that speaks about the city’s natural heritage. Drawn delicately on the walls, Asian elephants emerge as a symbol of endangered species creating a giant yet soft presence. For the collective, these elephants are a larger metaphor of our natural heritage that is slowly fading away due to urbanization and the increase in pollution levels. Thus, this piece in its inner beauty aims to connect with the viewer at a deeper level, reminiscing the richness of nature, too often forgotten at everyone's disadvantage .
Do Khatra Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 10
Do and Khatra (Gujarat, India) Phases of Love Love, as understood in certain cultures, appears within three typical phases - the initial attraction, the state of everlasting togetherness, and the inevitable after - the breakup. While some may be familiar with these phases, what usually gets unacknowledged are the layers that appear in between, the ones that fade in and out as lovers progress their affair. Do & Khatra, therefore, created an indefinite landscape resembling an acid crumbling city with 3 main points of focus, which exemplify the three stages of love. A rooster and hen flirtatiously walk through, the act of togetherness is preserved by pigeons on signage, and modern-day Adam and Eve walk past each other as their affair ends. Through the usage of a brisk and sober palette of colours for the characters, the artists highlight the complex moods that reside within each phase, while the intense and vivid colours dripping into the abstract background, gives birth to a misty psychedelic paradise.
M Pravat Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 4
M Pravat (New Delhi, India) - Walls are Transparent. With a passion for architecture, M-Pravat reflects on the definition and meaning of spaces in his vast body of work. The element of the ‘Jaali’ has become a recurring topic of investigation in his practice and especially within his explorations in the public realm. The jaali is not only historically relevant being connected with Mughal architecture but is also a visually common symbol found within our everyday surroundings, thus making it an architectonic feature with layered meanings. While its features allow one to see through and see beyond, creating a unique exchange between spaces - usually indoor and outdoor, public and private, it also confines and defines these spaces in rigid ways. Using this contraposition, M-Pravat installed painted metal cut-outs of the jaali that extrude into a symbolic composition to make the wall of Lodhi transparent, devoid of any structural division. As the shadow of the jaali falls onto the wall, the composition creates an illusionary effect that proposes a unique dimension of exchange between public and private, inside and outside, thus reinforcing the larger purpose of public art.
Aron Glasson Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 22
Aaron Glasson (New Zealand) - The Sacrosanct Whole. Aaron Glasson grounds his work on a key belief shared by a majority of indigenous tribes all over the world: everything, even the smallest entities, have an inherent life force. Taking inspiration from traditional cultures of India and New Zealand, Aaron brings together some of their characteristic elements. While seemingly disconnected, they instead highlight an intrinsic bond as well as the sacred nature of everything. A surreal universe of architecture and humans, plants and stones, fruits and vegetables unfolds in front of the viewer who has the liberty of reading the piece by finding intimate, subjective associations leading to diverse meanings. From auspicious symbols such as the threaded chili and lime - which are local symbols for protection and warding off evil, to the fertile pomegranate mingling with metaphysical meteorites, floating pumpkins and totems the composition aims at stimulating the viewer’s mind, transporting it in a rebus without solution. Visuals of the ‘The Dancing Girl’ – an ancient artifact from the Indus Valley civilisation which was part of Pakistan before partition and now preserved in India, or bananas with their buds together in the shape of joined hands represent the unity of India and Pakistan in the old times, poetically reinforcing the concept of nature as a holistic hyper-connected system.
Adele Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 8
Adele Renault (Belgium) -These Rock Pigeons Chose the Trees. Over the years, Adele has been framing one of the most common sights in cities across the world that are often considered very ordinary - pigeons. In her murals, these creatures emanate a quiet grace and irresistible force of life thanks to her sheer talent in depicting them with photo-realistic simplicity. In Lodhi Colony, as part of this continuous practice, Adele used the photos she took of the birds as a base for this mural. Disassociating with their usual environment and scale, she enlarged the bird, flooded it with sunlight to highlight the magnificent features of the creature that often go unnoticed - its layered eyes and the majestic hues within the feathers. When viewed up close, the piece reveals these details with immense intricacy. However, if seen through the pavement across the street, one can see a poetic fusion created - between the birds, Lodhi’s unique architecture, specifically the arch and the abundant greenery around it.
Priyesh Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 3
Priyesh Trivedi (Mumbai, India) - Unity . As a continuation of his studio works within the Adarsh Balak series, Priyesh brought to life his first public art piece in Lodhi Colony. Using the same characters from educational posters that are now largely recognized as pop-culture references, the artist created a satirical piece that looks at the concept of ‘Unity’ in today’s society. While his canvases are extremely provocative, for a public space such as the Lodhi Art District he revisited his approach, without compromising on his signature irony and sarcasm. He also consciously chose to distance his practice from the notion of ‘beautification’, which he perceives as an unappealing trend within street art. Therefore, his piece stands out for its ambiguous and disturbing character, highlighted by the deformity of the kids' bodies, which while being playful, doesn’t take away from the genuinely relevant social message - of collective unity The contrast between the disturbing bodies and the positive message is a key takeaway from this piece which aims to capture the public’s attention while encouraging a deeper awareness about our social interactions.
Sam Lo Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 28
Sam Lo (Singapore )- Cause and Effect. Basing her work on the theme of interconnectedness, visual artist Sam Lo used the characteristic Mughal floral motifs to connect with the local context of New Delhi. A CCTV camera, a frequent element in her work, appears as a reminder that while we are constantly watched, we can still fly, keeping in mind the consequential nature of the universe in our daily pursuits.
Eugene Soh Lodhi Art District photoby Federico Angeloni 9 di 16
Eugene Soh (Singapore) - Mars. Eugene Soh began spoofing several works of renaissance and classical paintings after his experiment with The Last Supper originally painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. While preserving his quirky and humorous take on paintings such as the Mona Lisa and American Gothic on this wall of Lodhi, the programmer turned visual artist has added a new piece titled ‘Mars’, wherein the public can take a walk or a selfie on the Red planet. The public is invited to scan the QR code placed on the bottom right corner to access the portal that transports you to the surface of Mars. Mediated through an Instagram filter, this adds a third dimension within the wall, allowing the public to reimagine its purpose. Through this portal on Mars, we hope to unlock a deeper understanding on the possibilities of ‘Street Art’, as we walk into a hyper-connected virtual world.
Telleas Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 3
Tellas (Italy)- Terracotta. Tellas’ mural is called ‘Terracotta’, a rich earthenware, clay-based ceramic, which in Italian literally means ‘baked earth’. The use of this colour and material is entrenched in the history of art from the earliest civilizations, and also in India's heritage. It is no surprise that Tellas used it to bring a feeling of organic unity and contact with nature, which is necessary for people who immerse themselves in the noisy and busy streets of New Delhi, much like any metro in the world. While reflecting he said, “The first two days I spent my time walking around the Lodhi Garden, Hauz Khas and Old Delhi. It provided a great contrast between the peaceful and the silent green of the parks, and the busy streets where people, like ants, walk in all different directions.” Tellas softened this dichotomy by painting colors of sunrise and tree branches that seemingly dance in the moment of natural gust of wind - creating a spectacle for the eye. Mindful of his strolls, the colour of the branches connects with the heritage from the country, creating an organic blend between nature and architecture.
Bond Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 1
Bond TruLuv (Germany)- Mere Rang Mein (In My Colors). In Delhi, the artist was inspired by the nuances of Lodhi Colony’s walls. To this effect, he painted his signature in a glossy chrome effect with saturated colors. Furthermore, in a continuous experimentation of his signature style, this mural is the largest Augmented Reality piece in a public space in India till date. When viewed through the ‘Vuforia View’ application, the mural becomes an AR piece with the tag animating and manipulating the depth and perspective within the letters, thus creating a unique combination of an analog hand made piece with digital motion. Occasionally dubbed as ‘ARt’, the movement of integrating art with AR is also slowly motivating street artists into a new dimension of exploration, where the public becomes an active participator rather than a passive observer. You can download Vuforia View app from www.artvive.com
Yok Sheryo Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 1
Yok & Sheryo (Australia & Singapore)- Letters of Lodhi. Inspired by the visual cues of vintage Indian matchboxes, Yok & Sheryo created a mural that is embedded with a series of cryptic messages. These messages are meant to be evocative of Indian public service announcements - seen and heard in buses, trains, auto rickshaws, and now on social media. Often adopting a humorous approach to their work, in the mural the duo depicts a funky character coming out of a portal on the top left corner of the wall, reminding us to ‘Call (y)our Mom’. A hand appears out of the other corner with a phone, to enable the call. During the time they spent here, the duo discovered Lodhi to be a place of cultural treasures and generosity. Reflectively, they decided to use the facade’s arched passageway as a symbolic portal towards ‘fortune’ and ‘health’. The artists also put the slogans ‘Justice’ and ‘Equality’ in an effort to develop a critical eye towards words that are often loosely used and require a more holistic comprehension. The artists invite us to move beyond empty sloganeering, have a more substantive approach to both of these concepts, and apply them in our lives.
David Leitner Reveals Lodhi Colony St Aart 2019 Pranav Gohill 5
David Leitner (Austria)- Untitled. With his work in Lodhi Colony, David Lietner explores the polarities that exist within urban cities and the way they affect our surroundings. During his time in New Delhi, he observed an abundance of age-old traditions still present in the modern day, while simultaneously noticing the hazardous pollution caused by the incessant consumption of single use plastics. Identifying this as a dangerous contrast, the artist created a mural depicting this reality, thriving due to human negligence. With his bold lines coupled with his distinguish figurative style, Leitner’s mural reads as a comic book on the wall of Lodhi Colony. While women dressed in traditional Saaris appear as the powerful keepers of our traditions, knowledge and heritage, their surrounding environment is at risk due to environmental degradation. The composition with its black and white palette offers a moment of relief from the overtly colorful chaos of Indian streets, while highlighting the dangers of letting these polarities thrive with the merging of these contrasting elements. David also added factual data such as ‘In India, out every 10 lakh plastic bottle bought, only 9% get recycled’ and ‘8 Lakh plastic waste enters the sea every year’ to stimulate the responsibilities we have as citizens to protect our surroundings before they gravely affect our livelihoods and natural ecosystems.
Bhajju Shyam Reveals Start Residency 2019 Jay Upadhyay
Bhajju Shyam (India)- Dilliwalle (People of Delhi). Bhajju Shyam’s work is a fusion of the old and the new. Keeping intact the historical lineage of Gond, he fuses elements of modern life and learning’s from his travels with the traditional style and techniques of the artform. Having travelled to Delhi several times, he felt that the city was a dense mix of people of all kinds - from the simple to the street smart, all jostling for space in the concrete jungle. He felt that the Fox, being one of the most clever creatures in the Jungle, allegorically represented this idea. The density is also representative of the growing numbers of people in our cities. This mural was an outcome of a month long residency with St+art India Foundation and Asian Paints called ‘From Craft to Contemporary’ which aims at modernising traditional Indian artforms. Over the month Bhajju experimented with various techniques of street art like stencilling and used spray paint for the first time in a process that was a mix of both tradition and modernity.
Manolo Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 19
Manolo Mesa (Spain)- About Dreams and Reality . Consequently decoding histories that are both personal and collective, ceramics have been a constant case of study in Manolo’s work. They have slowly unravelled themselves as symbols of resistance to the homogenization of industrialised products. While studying the practice of hand-made ceramics intimately, Manolo acknowledged the figure of the woman as the forebearer of this tradition in India and across other cultures. Often, the craft has flourished and been broadly celebrated, but what has often been left out are the real storytellers. Echoing this reflection, Manolo painted the image of a woman partially hidden by a pot. The image, almost magically repeated twice, activates a sense of recognition from the viewer while paying homage to the knowledge bearer - women all over the world from whom he, and many others, have inherited this timeless craft.
Do Khatra Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 10
Do and Khatra (India)-Phases of Love. Love, as understood in certain cultures and texts, appears within three typical phases - the initial attraction, the state of ever-lasting togetherness, and the inevitable after - the break up. While we have popularly recognised, and accepted these phases, what usually gets unacknowledged are the layers that appear in between, the ones that fade in and out as lovers progress their affair. Do & Khatra therefore created an indefinite landscape resembling an acid crumbling city with 3 main points of focus which exemplify the three stages of love. A rooster and hen flirtatiously walk through, the act of togetherness is preserved by pigeons on a signage, and modern day Adam and Eve walk past each other as their affair ends. Through the usage of a brisk and sober palette of colors for the characters, the artists highlight the complex moods that reside within each phase, while the intense, vivid colours dripping into an abstract pattern gives birth to a misty psychedelic paradise.

From 2015 to the present, art and territory have established a relationship of interdependence and synergy in the Lodhi Art District. Art drew inspiration from the context and acted as a binding factor becoming an integral part of the social infrastructure. After various participatory activities conducted over the years, in 2018 St+art began a vertical to involve the Lodhi community through different cultural interventions and programmes.

For a month, the St+art team reached Lodhi in the wee hours of the morning to meet the distributor of the daily newspapers and insert informative brochures and questionnaires that reached 7,500 households a few hours later. Soon after, the team went to the neighbouring slums, to distribute the same brochures by hand, as newspapers are not delivered there. The brochures reported information on St+art and its approach to public art, accompanied by questionnaires aimed at creating a database in order to structure tailor-made activities for different age groups, according to the interests of the inhabitants.

Based on the feedback received, St+art planned a series of events and workshops that led the inhabitants to rediscover their territory, collaborate with each other and become an active part of Lodhi's cultural ecosystem for the next three months. Workshops of painting, dancing, poetry and many others enlivened the people and their spaces, culminating in a two-day celebration in which the inhabitants exhibited their works and performed songs and dances.

The participatory mural remains a testimony of this process. Designed by the artist and typographer Dattarji, the piece wraps the wall with the words "Saath Saath" in Hindi, which translates to "together". Painted by close to one hundred residents led by the artist, the work includes some of the keywords that emerged from the questionnaires about what was fundamental for the community. Water, air, safety, art, education, are just some of the words painted over the large letters of "Together". A manifesto of sorts, to remind us what common resources are, and how we can think and act collectively to preserve them.

Community Wall Saath Saath Reveals Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 13
‘Saath Saath’. ‘Saath Saath’, which means ‘together’, is a wall painted by, and with, the residents of Lodhi Colony. The mural was painted over 4 weekends of February in an open workshop format, where around 100 residents - across ages and backgrounds, participated in the making of the mural with the S+art India team present to guide them through the process. With the Lodhi art festival 2019, St+art India Foundation’s intent was to build projects with the Lodhi community around themes and issues they valued. To engage, and involve them in a constructive dialogue, St+art arranged an interactive outreach program at the beginning of the festival, using pamphlets that were put inside the morning newspaper. Consequently Whatsapp groups were formed and slowly the residents became active participants of the festival. With this feedback system, words that were significant to their lives are now permanently embedded within these walls, reminding the community about what brought them together between January 2019 - March 2019.

To extend the Lodhi Art District experience beyond its borders, St+art initiated curated tours that still have wide participation and a diverse audience. With the NGO Access for all the St+art motto "Art for all" has been synergically implemented in guided tours dedicated to visually impaired people. Walking from wall to wall, participants enjoy the work thanks to tactile and braille illustrative panels

Walk with Siddhant -guided tours dedicated to visually impaired people.

Beyond the walls

The streets of Lodhi have often been transformed into open platforms for free concerts, dance shows and performances, ranging from traditional forms such as puppeteers and snake charmers to varied contemporary experiments. The latter have often been organized on the occasion of cultural events where the art world is buzzing also with plenty of international guests but strategically connecting with the city.

This is how the “evenings in Lodhi” were born, the first of which united the pioneer and icon of Indian contemporary dance Astaad Deboo with French dancer Ali Salmi, in a dance performance informed by the confluence of two different cultures.

A performance that began in the street, moved inside one of the courtyards, accompanied by a swarm of people, that discovered the space and architecture through an emotional and physical journey guided by the moving bodies of the two dancers. A dance of life, where the stage gave way to stairs, trees, street lamps and balconies. The inhabitants opened their private spaces, rediscovering their value through this experience.

A year later, Ali returned to Lodhi, where he had been fascinated by the market and the bridge that overlooks one of Delhi's main arteries. Recently built, the bridge reflects the scale and features of the new urbanism, detaching itself from the human-scale architecture of Lodhi, yet not escaping the temporary appropriation and conversion of public spaces by private citizens that often characterize the dynamics and portrays the visual panorama of the roads in India. The bridge is in fact used as a giant clothesline by the market laundries. Ali humanized this infrastructure even further with his performance.

The performance was accompanied by a video projection and a rap showcase by two young Indian exponents as these elements are important to make the dance part of the place, the city and the audience. Salmi explains: “The city is alive, we are a part of it and it is a part of us”.

INAUGURATION

The Lodhi Art District was inaugrated as the first public art District in India with some very special guests on 1st March 2019.

Work on the Lodhi Art District began in 2015, when we did a couple of murals in Lodhi, and understood the true potential of the space as a walk-through art district. Since then we have continuously been working here, adding more works, which now have fifty-nine murals made by some of the most prolific Indian and International artists.

Speaking on the association, Shri Prabhakar Singh, Director General, CPWD said, “The CPWD has been supportive of this endeavour of creating India’s first public art district over the last 5 years, we are happy to unveil the Lodhi Art District this year with a special map, as well special focus on community interactions and ownership and share in the vision that Art should be accessible to all”.

CPWD Inougration Lodhi Art Fest 2019 Pranav Gohil 2

Today, Lodhi Art District is widely recognized as the first open-air art district of the country and the reception received by it in terms of footfall, the number of tours and walks being organised, photo and video shoots taking place, and an increased sense of community pride amongst its inhabitants encourage us to build on the district every year. It also beckoned us to create art districts in other cities - the ‘Mahim (E) Art District’ in Mumbai, and the ‘Maqta Art District’ in Hyderabad.

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