From palace like art galleries where the works of renowned artists are critically evaluated over wine and cheese, art has now seeped into the realm of day to day life and spilled over to the streets of Delhi. In some of the city's most frequently visited places and cafes, young artists have found pride of place.
Tucked away in one of the lanes at Hauz Khas Village (HKV) is a little gallery-cum-cafe, Kuzart Lane which started in early May. A dingy alley leads to the cafe which has been converted into a gallery which showcases works of a young bunch of artists ranging from photographers, painters to interior designers. 'Four walls are given out to different artists to exhibit their work on a fortnightly basis. We lend them all support. We specifically encourage students with talent,' says Saad Siddiqui, one of the owners. The concept isn't all that new though, earlier bookstores in the city have done similar things.
Kuzart Lane is an art cafe, combining the nuances of an art gallery and a young cafe, that started the entire wall graffiti scene at HKV. The place is lit up by teacup chandeliers, serving the regular HKV menu of burgers, sandwiches, chicken tikka and smoothies. The owners like to call it an 'artist's kitchen' that offers you a fusion of mouth-watering food and breathtaking creativity.
The buzz started when the two Italian artists, Raw Tella and Mattia Lullini, started creating a big wall painting in HKV. The crowds gathered and the cameras clicked as this live street art concert took place. That is when the idea took shape and Siddiqui got in touch with the artists.
Rukhsana Siddiqui, who is fondly called the 'mother chef' of the cafe recalls the time when her son along with his friends came up with the concept of Kuzart Cafe: 'When we were opening the cafe, we knew that we wanted to do something for young, budding artists and that's when we thought of giving them a platform to display their work. When we finalised the place, we thought of developing graffiti art but later on the idea developed into the Kuzart lane concept.'
'It's nice to give people access to art in their everyday lives without them having to make a special effort,' she added.
Photographer Megha Jain, who has put up her work at one of the walls at Kuzart, is thrilled at the exposure the week-old project has already given her. 'I feel cafes are excellent venues for talented amateurs as galleries usually want more established names. As an upcoming artist, where I display my work is very important and what better than putting it up in public spotlight,' she said.
And while most agree that the informal exhibitions may not be massive commercial hits, they at least put the artists in the spotlight. It is too early to judge the response it is generating, but the concept is catching up with Delhi's art lovers. 'It seems like a cultural movement in the city that aims at making art accessible to the common man and providing an outlet for young artists to express themselves. Cafes serve as a good platform for this,' said Umesh Pathak, a visitor and an art lover.
So how about a dash of art while you grab a bite?