By Admin – Mar, 2014
About to cross Tihar Jail? Chances are that you’ll be tempted to slow down.
The graffiti and street artists who recently transformed the urban village Shahpur Jat into an open for all art gallery are in the process of turning Tihar Jail’s exterior wall into a canvas of wide expanse. This is the final phase of the St-ART Delhi Festival which is the first ever organized street art festival in Delhi. The festival is an amalgam of events like graffiti jams, workshops, street art and an art exhibition in Hauz Khas Village. Throughout the whole festival, the artists gathered immense support from Delhi Police who earlier gave their consent to artists ANPU and Hendrik ECB Beikirch to paint on the Delhi Police HQ building. The result was a 150 ft tall Gandhi mural covering its facade.
The Tihar Jail wall is a promising platform for the artists to show their creations as it solves multiple purposes. Showcasing on such a scale marks the beginning of a new culture in Delhi where in communicating a message with a deeper meaning to the society can be done through graffiti and street art which involves subjectivity and doesn’t impose any opinion on the onlooker. The mixture of vibrant graffiti and street is a pleasing contrast to the otherwise sordid picture that a prison wall would usually give. Thus, it also helps alleviate the gloomy image of prison.
Prison is known by society as a place for the detention of prisoners for its protection. But the noble goal of a prison service must also be to reform those who’re convicted of a crime and shape them as law-abiding citizens. A prison also has the responsibility to train the inmates in certain trades or skills so that they adopt legal ways of earning and become useful to the society. Tihar Jail is designed as a correctional institute. It aims to transform the inmates into ordinary citizens of the society through rehabilitative activities like music concerts and prison product making. Through the liveliness of their art, the artists are compelling everyone to look at prison not as a place of captivity but a place which allows inmates to break free from the captivity of negativity.
Yantr, in the artwork above shows transformation of an inmate, a heart passing through stages of transformation. The message is clear. Tihar Jail is a reformation center where inmates get the chance to look at life with a positive perspective and be part of the society just like a normal citizen.
The Tihar Jail wall has also caught the attention of freelancers and budding fine arts students who see it as an impactful platform to display their creativity.
In the pic above is Xishnu, an art student from Delhi. The theme of his piece comes from a poem written by one of the inmates. The poem is about a woman inmate who writes letters everyday to her loved ones outside but to no avail. Yearning for a response, she is soaked in her own sorrow.
Banwarey, a group of arts students from College of Art, Delhi are seen above painting a colourful scene from wildlife. “This is a piece about happiness, about living together in harmony.” said Sumit, one of the group members.
Above, Horus, a graffiti artist from Assam paints his work called ‘Captivity and Wisdom’.
Luckily, we met a graffiti artist who is popular on the Delhi streets – “In the coming days you can expect the whole wall to be covered. The spaces on the wall that are left out are going to be covered by the lines of a poem written by the inmates in Tihar Jail. A passer-by can read as he walks along. It is the inmates’ words that are being projected to the outside world in the form of art.”
The next time you plan a family day out in West Delhi; do plan your route so you pass by Tihar Jail. Don’t miss this spectacle…A must visit without doubt.
Some more pics from the wall: