February 15, 2016

WIP Show: ST+ART Delhi 2016

by Nidhi Sharma

Images by ST+ART India Foundation​ & Nidhi Sharma

Every winter, storytellers walk through Delhi with buckets of colours and aspiration to transform the unobserved urban walls. Celebrating ‘Art for Everyone’, this year St+art Delhi brings 25 Indian and international artists for the festival’s fourth edition.

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As a pilot project, artist Agostino Lacurci from Rome painted a majestic tiger and a cow over the Govindpuri metro station escalator, while the other surface adorns a girl with long flowing, dark hair. The graffiti on the station is a landmark which further directs toward the second major intervention of the ongoing street art festival initiated by St+art India Foundation.

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Oblivious to a cityscape, a spectator in the confines of Inland Container Depot (ICD) is surrounded by a huge landfill, an abandoned cement plant, a railway line and adding to this picturesque dystopia, in queue for disposal, thousands of shipping containers with hundreds of trucks waiting for a pass to occupy the roads of the city.

“This location is like a natural canvas against the blue sky on which the black and white portrait pops out…” explains German artist Hendrik Beikirch (aka ECB), also known for his monochromatic Gandhi mural at the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO, New Delhi. His freshly rendered mural of an anonymous man on the surface of a giant silo, watches over the St+art Delhi 2016 open-air art gallery at the Inland Container Deport in Tughlakabad.

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Titled as ‘Work In Progress (WIP): The Street Art Show’, this is an unusual exhibition transforming 31,200sqft. of ICD into a walkthrough installation. “The arrangement of 100 shipping containers is designed as per the Mughal spatial layouts which then became the canvas for the participating artists,” says Giulia Ambrogi, the curator of this segment of the festival and co-founder of St+art India Foundation.

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A mural of an astronaut reflecting on the surrounding containers receives public at the entrance of the WIP venue at CONCOR (Container Corporation of India). The street art duo from Switzerland, Christian Rebecchi & Pablo Togni also known as NEVERCREW settles the astronaut in their second artwork for the festival at Lodhi Colony.

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Among the completed works, Daku’s BREATHE – a street artist from Delhi is a satire of the city’s most basic problem of air pollution whereas Iranian artist Nafir chose the interior of a container for his mural. “Half of the artists completed their art works for the inaugural eve on 31st January. During the month of February, the remaining artists will be working on their containers,” explains Giulia. Like an open studio where ‘work is in progress’, while half the artwork is displayed, the other half can be witnessed in process.

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In collaboration with the Container Corporation of India and with the support of Asian paints, this exhibition aims to revitalise unconventional and neglected public spaces in Okhla. Once the exhibition has closed on 28th February 2016, the 100 painted containers will travel throughout India for their initial purpose for transporting goods.

Now, imagine walking around a city where every surface has such a story to tell.

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Initiated by St+art India foundation, this  two-month-long urban arts festival aims to make art accessible to the public. The two main venues for where the participating artists can be seen at work this year are – Lodhi Colony and ICD, Tughlakabad.

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