“Art is not what you see,
But what you make others see”
– Edgar Degas
Now Delhi feature :: Extension Khirkee
Khirkee extension is an urban village in South Delhi, mostly inhabited by lower income group people. It is a place that clearly represents the socio-economic disparity of New Delhi.
Separated by a small road, Khirkee extension has two of the biggest shopping malls of New Delhi across it. They are mecca’s of commercialisation and wasteful spending. Of opulence and wealth. While the village itself has days without water and electricity, just across the road from it, people are spending more money in a day which some of the inhabitants make in a month.
This stark contrast is quite symbolic of how ‘globalization’ has built our cities up. Where the poor are often brushed under the carpet to give us this utopian version of India Shining. Khirkee village, over the years, has been a very active part of the art community in Delhi with several starting / upcoming artists living there because of low rents and proximity.
It has been the hub for art patronising NGO’s like Khoj and the tiny drop Hip-Hop community. So in a sense, the intersection of those two worlds was the eventual logical conclusion. Extension Khirkee is a community-art project aimed at addressing these issues.
The idea being that art is for everyone – it is an ongoing engagement between art and public within the neighbourhood of Khirkee extension. It brought together creative practitioners from diverse backgrounds of visual art, architecture, media and hip hop.
Art is not just a hobby for the rich. For me, personally, the point of Art is to make one question. To make one think. It is to draw out a response from the viewer. Just a reaction – Whether good, or bad is immaterial.
And in that, the Extension Khirkee festival succeeds.
The people living in the community, under normal circumstances, would not be exposed to art or creative expression in every day life. By doing pieces in their immediate neighborhood, conversations are bound to start. Some will be informed, some will not be. But those conversations will happen. Which would not be the case if they had not been exposed to public art in the first place.
Some would appreciate it, especially the kids who live in the community – whose inquisitiveness for what was going on may lead them into expressing themselves creatively. While for some older sections of the community, it wouldn’t make any sense – “Why are you painting here? Why is there a hand painted on this wall? What does this even mean? There has to be a monetary outcome to this..”
Walk through the streets of Khirkee, and I’m sure you could strike a conversation about the pieces that are spread all around. The conversation is the success, not the artwork itself.
More information on : http://extension-khirkee.tumblr.com/
Mattia Lullini WiP
Akshay Rathore’s piece
Raw Tella’s Golden Rainbow