Earlier in October we took a trip to India to work with our suppliers and artisan partners on upcoming collections and to develop new ideas for the coming seasons. We took a day off in Delhi to get inspired and explore this magical city. We went out wandering with our wonderful colleague Garima (who works in our regional office in Delhi) who kindly showed us around some beautiful areas of the city.
Often overlooked as a destination by tourists, the Lodhi Art District is a wonderful place to explore for a colourful, inspiring and thought provoking Delhi experience. As the first ever Public Art District in India, both home-grown and international artists have come together to create vivid, awe-inspiring murals that while beautiful to look at, also make comment on social issues and causes such as women empowerment, climate change, social media culture and the LGBTQI community. Spread across 9 different blocks in the Lodhi Colony, this area acts like an open-air art museum accessible to everyone who is willing to explore.
This place is heaven for art lovers, anyone who has an eye for beauty or simply for anyone who enjoys exploring unknown streets and discovering a new place on foot! There is no official art map of the streets (as far as we could find!) so part of the beauty of this experience is exploring and finding the murals for yourself. You can take curated walks with a guide, however the beauty for us lay in finding our own way and the uncertainty and surprise of what you may (or may not!) find around each corner.
Follow our journey through this wonderful area below, featuring some of our favourite murals and the meanings behind them.
NeSpoon - Marking International Women's Day 2019
To mark Women’s Day 2019, artist NeSpoon created a mural inspired by the sewing traditions of her home country of Poland and the traditions of India. Focusing on lace motifs, NeSpoon's work in the Lodhi Art District combines the lace traditions of Europe with lace patterns which she learned at a workshop with the crochet artists if Insha-e-Noor (a women's enterprise associated with over 100 women from Nizamuddin Basti)
Before starting my work in Delhi, I went to meet these women in Old Delhi who design laces and we discussed traditional Indian embroidery and European embroidery and crochet.
Sameer Kulavoor - 'Selfie Culture'
Painted in 2019, Sameer Kulavoor’s mural titled 'Selfie Cluture' explores the effects of living life in the digital age and the effects selfie culture has on the human psyche. His enigmatic figures transcend dimensions and gravity, taking selfies mid-air and critique our digital lives where plants, as Sam observes, help you get a bunch of likes on your selfies. In addition to the message behind the art, we love the simple use of colours for a huge imact on Kulavoor's mural.
Sajid Wajid Sheikh - Ode to Indian Women & Femininity
By painting a series of portraits of women on a wall in front of a school, Sajid wanted to celebrate the powerful women figures that we all have, and look up to in our lives.
It’s a powerful message for kids to absorb and they can navigate through the different forms and shapes too
Says festival curator Giulia Ambrogi.
Shilo Shiv Suleman - 'Unseen'
This eye-catching piece depicts a sexworker and her daughter – the fog all around helping to hide them from the world. Often working with strong feminist attributes, Shilo tries to bring out these unsung women through this striking mural.
Aaron Glasson - ‘The Sacrosanct Whole’
‘The Sacrosant Whole’ is a beautiful ode to the underlying sacredness of all the things of the world. In the mural Glasson references to the ancient civilisation of the Indus Valley which is reflective of the cultural past of India hundreds of years ago. This was one of our personal favourites due the the colours and beautiful details hidden in and around the mural - note the bananas holding hands!
I usually pick up elements for my work from the locality, history, myths and mystery.
Aravani Art Project - bringing the transgender community to the fore through public art.
In collaboration with the transgender community of Delhi, Aravani Art Project painted their first mural in Delhi, bringing together delicate portraits of women they have worked in the past and women who have shaped their philosophies as well.
Fifteen trans-women and several volunteers contributed to the execution of the wall making it a collective celebration of identity and representation. Through public art and interventions, the Aravani Art Project reclaims the streets on which so many transgender people suffer violence and discrimination.
There is so much beautiful art and important messages shared across this beautiful district we could turn this post in to a book! We have added a few more pics below which we just couldn't miss out, and if you ever find yourself in Delhi, we highly recommend a visit to explore the area further!
Let us know your favourite mural in the comments below!