Sunday, January 16, 2022

Painting on the Wall

A few international artists have converted empty walls and blank spaces into vibrant canvases.

Written by Debesh Banerjee |
February 23, 2015 12:27:01 am
wall painting, artwork, graffiti Axel Void’s graffiti on the Delhi Cold Storage building in New Azadpur Subzi Mandi.

St+Art Festival, which debuted in 2014, has become bigger and brighter, with 13 artists participating. In the past fortnight, a few international artists have chosen sites across south and central Delhi and converted empty walls and blank spaces into vibrant canvases. Debesh Banerjee checks out four such artworks

painting1

Where: Lok Nayak Bhawan, Khan Market

Who: Spanish street artist and painter Okuda. He has toured New York, Berlin, London and Paris with his solo shows at galleries since 2009

The work: Known for his surrealist work and pop art, the Madrid-based artist merges geometrical patterns with organic forms. For his first project in India, Okuda, 35, chose the yellow brick walls of Lok Nayak Bhawan. The work shows a face split into two, with rainbow patterns forming the highlight of one while the other shows a galaxy of stars. “His works are usually a reference to the forces of capitalism and how they manipulate our lives, the universe we live in and the meaning of life,” says Hanif Kureshi, Creative Director of the St+Art India Foundation, organisers of the festival. Using spray paints, Okuda started work on February 12 and completed the mural in four days.

painting2

Where: Lodhi Colony, Meherchand market, opposite cafe coffee day

Who: DALeast, from the central Chinese province of Wuhan. He has been making wall murals across the US, Switzerland, Namibia, France and Australia since 2004

The work: The untitled work is inspired by the artist’s observations of India during his travels for two months through Kushinagar, Lumbini, Varanasi and Pune. He noticed many birds in the cities and on the outskirts and wanted to capture this on his mural. The work, made with spray paint and exterior emulsion paint, shows eagles, ravens and pigeons converging towards a central point. His canvas occupies one of the walls of the government residential quarters in Lodhi Colony. “I have kept the piece untitled. And I have left a part of the wall vacant because I feel the background can also contribute to a painting,” says the 30-year-old Cape Town-based artist, who is trained in sculpture.

Where: Delhi Cold Storage building, New Azadpur subzi mandi

Who: Alejandro Dorda Mevs aka Axel Void is an American graffiti artist and painter. Born in Miami, USA, and raised in Andalusia, Spain,
he has been making graffiti since 1999

The work: Using the facade of the Delhi Cold storage building, which is approx 60 ft high and 100 ft wide, Axel makes a comment on the mundane nature of daily life. This work shows a table with a single white burning candle and scattered fruit with a knife on the side. The work has the word “Zindagi” written in Hindi typography across it. The painting, made with exterior emulsion paint, is part of his series titled “Mediocre”, which he has made in Argentina, Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Europe and Tunisia. “I have chosen a classical style of painting to show how everything is the same in the end. The candles portray the passage of time and how people live and spend,” says Axel, 28, who took three days for the work.

The artist faced initial reservation from the storage owner when he wanted to depict only the knife. After some persuasion, the owner agreed to incorporate fruit and the knife in the work. “There is no message in the work and I don’t want to preach. I want people to think of who we are,” he adds.

painting3

Where: Lodhi Colony, Meherchand market, opposite CMYK store

Who: Japanese artist Lady Aiko. She has worked in Hollywood and directed artist Takashi Murakami’s digital biography called Super Flat

The work: Her untitled wall mural at Lodhi Colony revolves around gender discrimination and is an ode to women empowerment. Using a mixture of styles such as stencils and geometrical patterns, the work shows Rani Lakshmibai holding up a sword while carrying a baby on her back. “We suggested a few themes to her and she chose a work that was a statement of the strength of a woman. We had to familiarise her with Indian folklore and Rani Laxmibai,” says Kureshi.

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