Friday, June 14, 2024
HomeCitiesYogesh Saini, artist and founder of Delhi Street Art, on painting across...

Yogesh Saini, artist and founder of Delhi Street Art, on painting across national capital for G20

In the heart of Delhi, near the circular AIIMS flyover, for three days Yogesh Saini, artist and founder of Delhi Street Art (DSA), and other artists from his team would identify moderate traffic timings to determine when to paint the pillars standing between Dilli Haat and INA market.

“This is a busy area with heavy traffic, so we tried to paint early mornings or late nights,” says Saini, looking at the pillars that now adorn paintings based on traditional Gond and Madhubani art. “This is part of Delhi Tourism’s initiative for the upcoming G20 summit, and given its location, right outside Dilli Haat, we thought it best to work with folk art,” says Saini, adding, “We have previously done large Madhubani works at the Mandoli Jail, where some of the inmates also joined us.”

His work day starts early, around 8 am, and a weekly planner is usually chalked out to accommodate site visits to localities across Delhi. Meetings are also scheduled for ongoing projects and with authorities such as MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) and NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council). “For every artwork that we paint on the street, we first plan a framework. There could be alterations on-the-spot but the basic outline remains the same,” says Saini, 60.

Yogesh Saini While DSA has now painted in over 20 cities across India, from Malana (Himachal Pradesh) to Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Delhi remains its stronghold. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

We are meeting on a busy morning at Dilli Haat and though Saini is largely satisfied with the paintings on the pillars, in hindsight he feels a few alterations might have made it better. “We could have done without the thick black outlines in some of the works perhaps,” he notes.

In the same neighbourhood, DSA has also painted the walls of Navy Children School at INA. Involving the students as well, an undersea world has been replicated. At Diwan Chand Arya Senior School at Lodhi Road, on the other hand, more traditional motifs have been painted, and the boundary wall outside Suncity School in Gurugram emphasises on gender parity.

“Several factors go into deciding the theme. We also try to involve the local community, including people residing in the neighbourhood,” states Saini, giving the example of a 2019 project at a slum in Raghubir Nagar in Delhi. “We were there off and on for over a month and at least six-seven local residents, including children and grown-ups, joined us at different times,” says the artist.

Unlike the comfort of a studio, the multitude of unpredictabilities for a street artist are manifold — ranging from extreme cold to extreme heat, insensitive traffic and road safety. “You are dealing with so many elements. You get used to the noise, traffic, heat and dust but you do need to worry about personal safety, especially while working at night or when painting at heights,” says Saini.

Yogesh Saini As an artist, he knows that his work may not be his best each day but when it catches the eyes of people on the streets, he feels he has done his bit. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Recently, while working at the South Extension flyover, he shares how two artists were working on a crane that was rammed by a truck at night. “Luckily, they were wearing safety belts and did not fall, but there were injuries,” says Saini, adding, “Even when we place road cones, people find ways to manoeuvre around them.”

Saini shares how a few weeks ago one of the earliest works that DSA did for G20 in October-November 2022, at the Moolchand flyover, were whitewashed. “They were made with permissions from PWD and we don’t know yet why they have been wiped out,” he states.

From Dilli Haat, he leads us to the DSA studio at Mandir Marg, where preparations are underway for the tenth anniversary of the organisation later this month. Art installations are being designed and rooms are being painted to host public workshops, including walls pasted with newspapers acting as canvases. Discussions are held to check if deadlines are being met and Saini also picks the brush to paint a room full of doodles.

In 2013, the engineer who spent over a decade working in the US began his journey as a street artist with the beautification of dustbins at Lodhi Garden. He recalls how a skeptical authorities asked him to first paint one dustbin. “I was always interested in art and would sketch as a child but this was the first time I was painting for public viewing. Luckily, my dustbin was approved,” he recalls.

Most Read 1Chandrayaan-3 mission: Dawn breaks on Moon, all eyes on lander, rover to wake up 2As Indo-Canadian relations sour, anxiety grips Indian students, residents who wish to settle in Canada 3Karan Johar says Sanjay Leela Bhansali did not call him after Rocky Aur Rani: ‘He’s never called me but…’ 4Gadar 2 box office collection day 40: Hit by Shah Rukh Khan’s Jawan onslaught, Sunny Deol movie ends BO run with Rs 45 lakh earning 5Shubh’s tour in India cancelled: Why is the Canada-based singer facing the music?Yogesh Saini “Several factors go into deciding the theme. We also try to involve the local community, including people residing in the neighbourhood,” states Saini. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

As he built a team of artists, one project led to another. Soon, he was working with the NDMC for the beautification of Shankar Market, where DSA painted an array of motifs, from flying birds to city life, music and dance. “This was probably one of the first art districts in Delhi. Most of the work was 10-12 feet off the ground and many artists were getting up on the scaffolding for the first time,” recalls Saini.

While DSA has now painted in over 20 cities across India, from Malana (Himachal Pradesh) to Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Delhi remains its stronghold. “Events come and go but it is important to keep the city clean and maintain that,” says Saini. As an artist, he knows that his work may not be his best each day but when it catches the eyes of people on the streets, he feels he has done his bit. “It feels good when people appreciate or give feedback,” he adds.

Also ReadStray dogs released after G20 ‘missing’ in Delhi, rescuers join hands to …Wife refused to keep karwa chauth fast, didn’t acknowledge husband: HC up…Atishi makes ‘surprise inspection’ of MCD school, orders action against t…How a letter from an organisation promoting Urdu culture led Delhi Police…

The calls continue till wee hours at night and tickets are booked for a trip to Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh, where the team will soon be painting on walls across the town.

Get more updates on Delhi News Today. Also get Latest News Updates on G20 India Summit at The Indian Express.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular