St-Art Delhi is an urban/street art festival which was held in New Delhi across the months of January and February, 2014. Organised by the St+Art India foundation, a non profit working in the domain of public/ Urban Art. Across two months artists from across the country and the world came to Delhi and immersed themselves in the narrow winding by-lanes of Shahpur Jat – an urban village which is stashed in between some of the most posh localities of New Delhi.
Historically, Shahpur Jat has been home to generations of families belonging to the rural ‘Jat’ community – and is predominantly inhabited by them even today. However, proximity to the very popular Hauz Khas Village and cheap rents have led to an increased interest in SJ in the past few years.
The inside lanes of the village are full of modest hole-in-the-wall shops which cater to the necessities of the common man, while the outside now has bohemian cafes and designer boutiques – which truly makes it a very contrasting neighbourhood. All of this made Shahpur Jat the best place to commence the St-Art Delhi Festival.
The idea of the festival was always to work with the consent of the locals so that there was also an interaction between the community and the artists. The first week saw pieces by Indian artists Anpu Varkey, Yantr, Harsh Kadam and also Tofu from Germany.
Now Delhi founder Akshat Nauriyal is a co-founder of St+art India and the festival. He handles the content and documentation of the festival, and boy was there a lot to cover. By the end of the festival, there were more than 30 pieces done by artists from more than 7 different countries in areas like Shahpur Jat, Hauz Khas Village and Malviya Nagar. This is the first video in a series of videos that will attempt to articulate all that went on within the festival. More videos will be published soon.
Now Delhi feature :: St+art Delhi Festival – Week 1
Indian artist Anpu’s ‘Cat’ was one of the first finished pieces of the festival. In subsequent days, it became a local landmark within the village. Directions were now being given in relation to the cat – the building owners felt a sense of pride living in the building adorned such.
Up until the time the cat was made, locals were hesitant about giving walls because they were not really sure of what street art was all about. Post-Cat though, things changed significantly with more locals offering their walls to paint on. By end of the festival there were more than 20 pieces painted all across the village, some even inside houses.
A lot of the walls came in the form of a barter. The wall owners would permit artist to paint, but in return they would often ask for a piece in return. Inkbrushnme’s piece (Above) was in return of a mural of Lord Hanuman. Yantr’s piece (below) was supported with a mural of a scene from the epic Mahabharat.
There was a lot of curiosity amongst the locals – especially the youth – who were particularly drawn towards this new activity taking place in their neighbourhood. They would often congregate while the artists were painting, asking them questions and offering help.
Tofu (in photo below) got several cups of free chai (tea) from the local vendor opposite his wall.