March 2013: Khirki village is located in South Delhi near Saket. In its vicinity are posh structures including malls, private hospitals and luxury hotels. Yet this small village has managed to retain its archaic touch by staying detached from the urban atmosphere of Delhi up to quite an extent. It is divided into separate Hindu & Muslim majority areas, has narrow crisscrossing streets and the hustle-bustle of villagers going about with their busy routines. There is also the ancient Khirki Mosque adjoining the village. Add to this assortment the gamut of graffiti and street artworks adorning the village walls and you get a spicy curry called Khirki village.
Giant Squids – Mattia Lullini
One day as I drove past the village, I saw what looked like two giant squids ruling an entire building. That’s when I decided to pay a visit and discover what lies inside. Making my way through the uneven terrain I managed to break into the village and started looking around. I was amazed to see this sudden explosion of art and thanked myself for making the effort.
India Beyond Goal
The other thing I noticed was how graffiti and life go along in Khirki. Graffiti and street art sit undisturbed on the walls just like bikes, rickshaws and other objects on the streets. This was a pleasant surprise because these unconventional writings have a nature which is in stark contrast to their surroundings A peep into one of the open gates helped me discover some more art. There was a barber doing his job. He had a big grin on his face, welcoming me when I said I’m here to take pictures of this ‘painting’ on the wall. He was proud of this wall in his shop which said ‘India beyond goal’. “People usually come there to take pictures.”, he said.
Masked Buddha – Yantr
Moving forward I found this immaculate piece of street art by Yantr which shows Buddha wearing an out-of-this-world mask. Great imagination. I hope technology and nature do thrive together some time in future.
Mouth of Darkness – ANPU
If you’re driving to the end of this street, be careful not to enter the ‘Mouth of Darkness’ (as I would call it).
Multicolored concrete pieces
At one under-construction site, I found these hanging pieces of concrete with different colors painted on them. This again shows the level of involvement that residents have with street art. It also shows the artist’s opportunistic approach which made this destructed structure look like a refreshing piece of art.
Reverse stencil art
Someone’s watching – Falco
I kept moving on, making any turn on the spur of the moment. It felt like a maze where you can get lost too easily. Everywhere I went, I had something unique to find. Some of the artworks were too old to be in perfect shape but still, I managed descent clicks.
Unlike the rest of Delhi where graffiti may not last too long, Khirki village is a completely different place. Graffiti, which is considered as defacement of public property elsewhere is well embraced in Khirki as murals for decorating the walls. Every street has a mystery to uncover, hidden artifacts you might call them. This build up of street art at every twist and turn of the village makes it a bizarre museum which gets visitors from all over the world. Every graffiti enthusiast in Delhi must come to Khirki village. But make sure to take out a lot of extra time because you might not want to come back too soon!