A portrait of Delhi

A portrait of Delhi

After painting a string of murals for railway stations and hotels, Anjolie has this time spread colours at airport

The Indira Gandhi International airport has added another gem to its collection of public art. Celebrated contemporary artist Anjolie Ela Menon has created a 21 feet x 8.2 feet mural soon to be unveiled at the domestic departure Terminal 3. And guess what it depicts? The ‘Walled City’.

Anjolie has already created a string of murals for railway stations, hotels, government buildings etc., but a painting at the bustling IGI airport is obviously ‘special.’ She
informs Metrolife, “After my retrospective in 2010, which coincided with my 70th birthday, I decided to do some work in public spaces. Tackling large spaces is difficult. One has to climb ladders, perch on scaffoldings and so on. So I want to paint large pieces while I am still able.”

“Therefore I was glad when the opportunity to paint a mural for IGI airport came my way. It took me six months to complete but I know that countless people travelling via the airport will view it in the years to come.”

The mural is simple and yet endearing just like Old Delhi. Depicted in bright and happy colours are Chandni Chowk’s Clock Tower, a river bridge, the Golcha cinema with a poster of Don, the old ambassador taxi, children flying kites and temples and mosques co-habiting. For good measure, she has added a girl throwing a love letter off her balcony and cows, goats and monkeys freely roaming the streets.

Anjolie says, “This mural is, in fact, a microcosm of the Indian street. It is unique to our urban culture that the street is the arena for life itself. This is where people live, travel, ply their trades, interact, romance, play, celebrate and protest. Here human beings and animals co-exist in surprising co-existence and tradition and modernity blend seamlessly. It is a throbbing scenario of sound and colour, almost endless street theatre.”

The IGI airport, itself a new icon of Delhi, boasts a large number of artworks already. There are life-size murals by artists Paresh Maity, M F Husain and Seema Kohli. A huge copper and gold plated sculpture by Satish Gupta dominates one section and an installation of 12 dance mudras with discs frame the canyon area across the international and domestic sections. Whoever said Delhiites would mind any more?

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