In a first-of-its-kind initiative, India Habitat Centre is taking art to the public. Titled The Habitat Initiative: Art In Public Spaces, the project has been designed in collaboration with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) at Jor Bagh and Mandi House metro station. The show will start off on January 15.
The chosen artworks will be displayed on the lightboxes installed at the metro stations and will change every three months. The explanatory text displayed alongside would be bilingual being both in English and Hindi.
Rakesh Kacker, Director, India Habitat Centre said, “In a new policy initiative, we have decided to now take art to public spaces and our collaboration with Delhi Metro is the first step in that direction.”
Alka Pande adds, “Community art refers to field of community, neighbourhood and public art practice with roots in social justice and popular and informal education methods. The habitat initiative, hence, was to work in the genre of community arts, primarily using photographs, prints and video and digital works.”
From January till March 2015, at the Jor Bagh metro station, photographs from the exhibition, The Long Exposure at Udaipur, 1857-1957, would be displayed on three lightboxes. Nearly 20 prints of some photographs from this collection would also be displayed on the walls there. The displayed images would include painted photographs or hand-coloured photographs and the portraits shown are of three generations of Maharanas who ruled Mewar from 1884 to 1995. Since March is the month of Holi, at the Mandi House station, photographs on Holi by Tarun Chhabra would be displayed on two lightboxes. He noted, “I like to celebrate people, places and culture through my photography. My choice of subject comes from a place of intuition and is fuelled by an impetuous desire to partake in the stories that unfold around me”.
The third lightbox at Mandi House station would display a poster from the Crime Writers Festival at the time when the festival is held at the Habitat on January 17 and 18, 2015. This has been especially chosen to encourage gender sensitisation during these times of rising crime against women.
Following the completion of the Crime Writers Festival, the same lightbox would display Australian artist Robyn Beech’s photographs on Holi.
The fourth lightbox will display the calendar of upcoming events at the Habitat so that people have a ready reckoner for each month. On January 3, for instance, a tribute to Begum Akhtar will be held as part of Habitat concert series.
At the Habitat building complex itself, Israeli artist David Gerstein’s sculptures will also be displayed as part of the project. After the first three months (January-March 2015), both the metro stations at Jor Bagh and Mandi House would feature a new set of works from April till June 2015. The Jor Bagh station would be lit up with images from Shashi Gogate’s photographs of women leaders from across India while the Mandi House station would have evocative images from Shobha Deepak Singh’s collection of photographs on prominent theatre personalities.