Merely days before International Yoga Day, yoginis and yogis — with peaceful faces, graceful Yoga postures and serene eyes — took over the capital, as did energetic practitioners of the surya namaskar. Even the brutal heat and the torrential downpour this week didn’t deter them. After all, they’re mere paintings and murals, done last week by the group — Delhi Street Art — in collaboration with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
While Uma Shankar Dixit Road has been turned into the “meditation wall”, a wall in East Kidwai Nagar, across AIIMS, has paintings of signature Delhi monuments such as Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Jantar Mantar, among others, in the background with surya namaskar postures at the front.
“They are simple and direct interpretations of Yoga so that the common man passing by on the road understands it easily. We were approached by NDMC two weeks ago, and this work has been done especially for International Yoga Day,” says 56-year-old Yogesh Saini, founder of Delhi Street Art, set up in 2013.
Last week, when Saini and his team began the work — from 7 am to midnight, daily for five days — they encountered many curious onlookers. “One motorcyclist stopped to talk to us, a bus driver gave us a thumbs up while driving past us, children rolled down windows of cars to look at the work and construction workers stopped by too,” says Saini, who created murals for International Yoga Day last year as well.
The work across AIIMS is spread over 10,000 sq ft, informs Saini, and is done on metal sheets placed at construction sites, which will be dismantled once the construction work is complete. The work in Chanakyapuri will suffer the same fate, and Saini adds, “Once the construction is over, the work will obviously be removed, but that day is a few months away.”
Saini and his team of 12 faced a rather peculiar problem while working on the Surya Namaskar mural across AIIMS. “In the first two days, we gave directions to about 100 people – the direction board for AIIMS and Ashram confused many. Frustrated with the number of direction requests, we painted a board with the left and right symbol, and queries went down to a zero,” says Saini, with a smile.
Apart from these two major works, Delhi Street Art also created Yoga-related murals and paintings at a municipal park in Green Park, and at construction sites of Ambedkar Memorial on Dr Rajendra Prasad Road. “These were generally done to promote Yoga, not especially for International Yoga Day,” says Saini, who practices Yoga himself.