Paris' gift to Delhi: A 'French garden' grows on a city metro wall

The artwork has been created in the last two weeks by French artist Fabien Poes
Last Updated 26 February 2022, 20:22 IST

With a vibrant spray of colours and thematic artwork depicting a French garden and its curious co-habitants, an artist from France has transformed a drab wall in India's capital into a dazzling canvas, marking the "enduring friendship" between the two countries.

The mural, executed on a wall of metro station premises in Mandi House -- Delhi's cultural hub -- as part of 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrations, was inaugurated on Saturday evening by Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and Chargée d'Affaires ai, Embassy of France in India, Dana Purcarescu.

The artwork has been created in the last two weeks by French artist Fabien Poes.

"We thank Mr Poes for bringing a 'French garden' to Delhi, through his fresco on the wall. I think it's a desi French garden, with so much of colours and elements of Delhi embedded into it. It's a French present to India," Purcarescu said.

The artwork is done on a wall that faces the National School of Drama campus. She said the mural represents the Indo-French friendship, and will especially appeal to the youths here.

"Many times, we do serious stuff in diplomacy, but this artwork will take the message right into the streets, of the ties between the two countries," she added.

The mural has been done in a "narrative style" and also borrows artistic design elements from classic comic book 'Tintin', Poes said.

So, a metro train has been represented as a quirky bug, giant eggplants, colourful flowers, big bees, to capture the essence of a French garden with an Indian twist, and images of some landmarks, like India Gate also been embedded into it.

The India Gate, a monumental sandstone arch, is often compared to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

"Through this special collaboration, Poes honours the enduring friendship between India and France with a vibrant French garden cohabited by myriad creatures, and featuring Delhi's emblematic buildings. The French garden, also called “jardin à la française” (literally, “garden in the French style”), is based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order on nature," the French Institute in India said in a statement.

Lekhi in her address spoke of the long-standing ties between India and France, and India as a "land of myriad colours".

"We are celebrating Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, and this artwork is a beautiful gesture from France on the occasion. Also, we are a free country for the last 75 years, but in pre-Independence, artists and those who chose to express themselves had to face a lot. These artists were also very much part of the freedom movement," she said.

Lekhi later also tweeted and shared pictures from the event: "Happy to inaugurate French Fresco produced by artist Poes, org by @FranceinIndia as part of @AmritMahotsav celebrations. The music event was org by @alliancefrdelhi. Thanks to @OfficialDMRC for providing d iconic Mandi House Metro Stn for hosting this piece of art."

Ahead of the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, the Embassy of France, French Institute in India envisioned this cultural project in collaboration with India's Ministry of External Affairs, the statement said.

This mural is the first among the many cultural events throughout India from March to May for celebrating Indo-French friendship in the year marking the 75th year of India's Independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and India, it said.

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(Published 26 February 2022, 20:22 IST)

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