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Wall of fame: Delhi Street Art pays tribute to India’s Paralympic medallists with 18ft mural

The work of art serves as much-needed inspiration for the younger generation

Published: 24th September 2021 04:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2021 09:54 AM   |  A+A-

The mural at Pusa road dedicated to Paralympians

Express News Service

The often-considered vandalistic street art, as far-fetched as it sounds, was once an educational tool. Freelance artist Mohd Intiyaz (26) explains, “In the history of India, rulers used art in public spaces to educate society. In time, news as well as social media has replaced paintings to educate people, and street art has been relegated to pop culture.”

The team at Delhi Street Art (DSA), of which Intiyaz is part, depicts headline-grabbing events as outdoor murals in order to create awareness. Their latest is a visual tribute to India’s newest Paralympic champions. A building wall on Pusa Road, close to the Hanuman Mandir roundabout, served as the perfect canvas for DSA. In fact, the artists have touted this as a “wall of honour” for these medallists.

Scouting for inspiration

Talking about the initiative, for which DSA partnered with the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (NDMC) Karol Bagh ward, Yogesh Saini, founder, DSA, says, “We have been trying to highlight individuals — such as sports personalities, creative icons, and others. Earlier this year, we created a wall art at Madhuban Chowk near Pitampura metro station, depicting the Tokyo Olympics 2020 medallists as well as of Manpreet Singh, the captain of the Indian men’s hockey team. After India bagged a number of medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we decided to dedicate a mural to the winners.”
 
Saini mentions that this work of art serves as much-needed inspiration for the younger generation. He says, “We have been depicting people [on outdoor murals] who inspire the younger generation. Now, we have these new [Paralympic] champions who are trailblazers, and have set multiple records. For the first time, so many of them have succeeded at the international level. So, we decided that we will do at least one (maybe more murals) dedicated to them.”

The perfect canvas

After identifying a dilapidated building's wall in the area, the NDMC team carried out repairs. Post this, the DSA team of eight artists got to work to breathe life into this approximately 18ft empty canvas. Saini says, “We depicted the five Paralympics who won gold medals. We have also listed the names of all the 19 winners according to gold, silver and bronze categories.”

The final mural by Delhi Street Art.

This was not an easy task amid Delhi’s unpredictable showers of rain leading to parts of the wall suffering damage. Once the NDMC patched the wall up again, the DSA team took about four days to complete this mural. Professional artist Krishna Kumar (28), a Rohini resident, who also worked on this project, talks about how this wall has now turned into a visual treat for passers-by. He says, “This wall was in bad shape. But, it looks great now and has turned into a transformative experience for regular passers-by.” In a similar vein, Saini says, “The wall was in a run-down, littered area, and many people would walk past it. With this mural, we’ve made it a
safer space.”

Kumar and Intiyaz — who was also part of the DSA team — stress on the fact that this mural serves double duty both as art and as a medium for awareness. Kumar says, “People were not aware of the Paralympic medallists. After interacting with us, they realised who these sports persons are.” Intiyaz, on the other hand, hints that this mural has helped change mindsets. He says, “With DSA highlighting these Paralympians on a mural, it helps showcase their true potential to people. Sports are great; and that is what we make people aware of with the help of our brushes and strokes.”



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