A city that is apprehended by off-beat art interventions in the most unusual areas on even regular days, Delhi has one more public event that seeks to engage with the everyday man. After St+Art Festival, which is currently serenading viewers on various locations such as Tuglakabad, Lodhi Colony and Shahpurjat, with its street art, Publica — helmed by Floodlight Foundation — will add a distinct dimension to the initiative.
After its first edition in 2013, the festival is back this year with a series of installations that will temporarily stand their ground at various locations such as the Nizamuddin basti, Select City Walk in Saket, DLF Emporio in Vasant Kunj and Nehru Park, among other places in the Capital.
Unlike most interventions, the edge to Publica is its interactiveness. Initiated in 2013, this homegrown event urges the viewers for more than just a look. “The thrust behind Publica is to bring art to the public realm, outside the context of a gallery,” says Surbhi Modi, founder and chief curator of the festival, adding, “Our curation was a mix of convenience of the place along with the fact that it should have high traffic.”
On January 30, Modi led a small gathering to all the works at Bikaner House, before they were dispatched to their respective sites. From massive beasts to personal maps, to a chained woman in metallic steel to a sculpture of a hapless farmer, the works are more than visual statements. Around 10 artists, who will be joined by more, have created works that are scattered across the city, bringing a much-needed shade to an often numbed cosmopolitan city like Delhi.
Jharkhand-born artist Anant Mishra’s Are We Humans Yet is a stark visual of life-sized sculptures of a bull and a tiger, usually viewed as barbaric beasts, that are are bound with ropes and lay lifeless on the ground. At another segment, Spanish artist Lucas Munoz, known for his juxtapositions of functionality and aesthetics, brings Delhi Lung, a response to the raging pollution problem in the city. As he preps the giant dome-like installation with bamboos and covers it with white cotton fabric, several table fans installed within churn, sucking in the dust from outside. “Over a period of time, the work, which will be placed outside DLF Emporio, will gather dust, thus representing lungs,” says Modi.
Dubai-based Owais Husain, late artist MF Husain’s youngest son, brings his conceptual, multi-media work called Heart of Silence, a temporary sanctuary enclosed in black cloth and large mirrors on opposing sides.
Delhi-based Tushar Joag’s work with the Nizamuddin basti, in collaboration with Aga Khan Foundation, also comes in the form of a manufactured map, created by the settlers there. Others participating artists include Krishna Murari, Sandip Pisalkar, Rajesh Ram, Gigi Scaria and Arun Kumar.