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When art broke out of gallery walls and went public

Published : Dec 29, 2017, 1:31 am IST
Updated : Dec 29, 2017, 1:31 am IST

Stations on the newly launched Magenta line are also being painted in themes representative of their surroundings.

In April, the non-profit organisation tied up with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to give the Arjangarh Metro station an artistic makeover with illustrations of indigenous birds and animals found in the country.
 In April, the non-profit organisation tied up with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to give the Arjangarh Metro station an artistic makeover with illustrations of indigenous birds and animals found in the country.

New Delhi: Art has traditionally been used as a medium of expression, but conversations have more often than not been restricted within the four walls of a gallery, catering only to a niche audience.

In 2017, however, public art took on a life of its own — breaking down walls of confined spaces and spilling out to the streets, making the art experience accessible to all.

The 142-year-old Sassoon Docks, housing one of Mumbai’s oldest fish markets, became a vibrant canvas and an old barge in Goa was transformed into an art space during the 2nd Serendipity Arts festival.

Earlier, designer and artist Manish Arora embellished Mumbai’s Jindal mansion with yards of cloth, hand embroidered and printed, as a symbol of love and peace.

Walls in public spaces became canvases for those looking to expand their creative spaces, whether at the ghats in Pushkar or a Delhi Metro station wall.

“It is a wonderful message in today’s times of conflict and uncertainty, and public art can do this beautifully and meaningfully,” said Gaurav Bhatia, MD, Sotheby’s India.

The increase in the number of public art events in the past year explains why the need for such installations goes beyond merely beautifying the spaces they occupy.

Start India’s initiative at the docks, for instance, was aimed at reviving Mumbaikars’ interest in a forgotten part of their city, with graffiti and shows telling stories of communities like the Kolis, the Banjaras and the Hindu Marathas.

In April, the non-profit organisation tied up with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to give the Arjangarh Metro station an artistic makeover with illustrations of indigenous birds and animals found in the country.

Stations on the newly launched Magenta line are also being painted in themes representative of their surroundings.

Similarly, Orijit Sen’s installation maps Goa’s Mapusa Market, while touching on issues like GST and demonetisation.

According to Tushar Sethi, director of Astaguru, an auction house, art has the capability of triggering revolutions with an impact.

“It can portray a powerful and moving statement to a diverse audience in an instant,” says Sethi.

Arvind Vijaymohan, chief executive of Artery India, an Indian art market intelligence and advisory firm, adds that public art’s growing visibility and presence is a development that was “highly overdue”.

“It is a strong tool in sensitising the public at large to the importance of art in everyday life, and improves the visual landscape of our urban spaces,” he says. 

Tags: art, manish arora, delhi metro, sassoon docks