Beautifying city walls

Established in 2013, Delhi Street Art (DSA) is a pioneering street and public art organisation with a team of professional artists and designers who incorporate the spirit of local communities and bring out the best aesthetics of the city. They work closely with local communities to design, create, and restore the aesthetic heritage of public spaces while engaging with artists from all walks of life.

Renowned Spanish artist Juan Ramirez, who is busy making murals on one of the walls at the DSA nukkad, says, “My art usually explores fugues, humans and all the futuristic humans and the evolution of many faces and eyes. I create art spontaneously. I am working with DSA to create something wonderful in New Delhi. 

“I am very obsessed with eyes and creatures,” he added.

Two iconic wall murals have come up in April in Khan Market thanks to the team’s efforts in enlivening and beautifying the city with art.

One mural celebrated ‘World Art Day’ on April 15, bringing alive the city of New Delhi in the art form, with Qutab Minar, Lotus Temple, Jantar Mantar and other iconic locations showcased on the wall. 

This was through a collaborative event involving art lovers from across the city and the artists of DSA.

Next to it, there is a catchy line on the wall, ‘Superheroes against Superbugs’. The mural has been created in collaboration with Superheroes against Superbugs (SaS) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to highlight issues about anti-microbial resistance (AMR).

“The design of the mural draws inspiration from classic isometric game designs like iconic Pac-Man and showcases a dynamic battleground where AMR superheroes combat the forces of harmful superbugs,” said Mayuri Saini, Director of Delhi Street Art. 

“It brings fun and learning together.”

The design of the mural was ideated by students in a co-design workshop they attended at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in November 2023. The students put their learning from an AMR awareness workshop in the form of art and craft which was given the final shape by DSA and SaS.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to India, Marisa Gerards said that AMR has become a silent health crisis.

“In 2019, AMR caused over 1.2 million deaths globally as antibiotics were overused in hospitals and agriculture. Even residues of antibiotics have been found in our environment, water and food. This makes treating people with serious infectious diseases very challenging,” she said while speaking on the occasion.   

The other piece of art

The other memorable art in public domain done by the DSA in the last two months includes the mural in Khan Market to mark 75 years of diplomatic relations between Sweden and India, which has become an iconic selfie point. 

Another work done is the huge canvas of cricketer Rishabh Pant at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in association with DC Toli to mark his return and rise as captain of Delhi Capitals.

TEAMWORK: DSA team after making murals at the Amrita Shergill Chowk

In previous years, DSA has left its mark on various fronts. Last year, it beautified the walls of different schools at NCR with the support of some students. 

The team also took up some projects during the G-20 meeting in Delhi, beautifying the city by painting murals on several flyover pillars and walls. 

In 2018, graffiti was made on the walls of three Delhi Police stations — Lodhi Colony, Vasant Vihar and Punjabi Bagh. In 2017, they designed 3D crossings near India Gate and its surrounding areas to catch the eye of motorists and dissuade them from speeding. 

In the same year, graffiti was made on the walls of a Noida mall on the theme of women’s empowerment. They also made paintings along the outer wall of the BR Ambedkar Memorial to highlight the issue of child trafficking. They also beautified the dustbins at Lodhi Garden in 2013.

The young artists from DSA and other schools and colleges who have been part of several projects are thrilled over the work done.

“Although I was studying at a college of Art, I didn’t know so much about street art. Fortunately, I participated in the DSA’s dustbin project in Lodhi Garden in 2013. When I started the journey with wall art, I learnt so much by working with them. This is something that no institute teaches. I have learnt this and it has become part of my personality and my profession,” said Raj Kanojia, an artist who has been part of DSA for the last 10 years.

Shagun, a student of Vivek Modern School, Delhi, who was part of the recent Khan Market Wall project, said, “I am glad to meet the ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to India and work with DSA. We got an opportunity to paint the walls of the city. It was a great experience.”  

DSA was started by Yogesh Saini, an engineer by profession who died in February this year. Now, this initiative has been taken up by his wife Mayuri Saini. Yogesh returned to India from the US in 2012 with an aim to beautify the city, which led to the beginning of DSA.

Mayuri told Patriot that although Yogesh was an engineer, he always found street art and graffiti inspiring when they were living and working in New York. 

“We saw graffiti at that time when it mostly was a means of expressing frustration, especially in the rundown neighbourhoods in New York.  It was thought-provoking, and in the years since then, street art itself has transformed into a form of creativity, aesthetics and many varied forms of self-expression. That is how Delhi Street Art was formed, to help share these in Delhi and across India. It continues to be the way forward for the artists and for us,” she said. 

“There are no religious, cultural or geographical boundaries in art. Anyone can come and join us,” she said adding, “We want to take Yogesh’s legacy forward.”

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