Making Liveable Art in Unkempt Spaces of Delhi’s Champa Gali
Nestled in the south of India’s capital is a passageway called Champa Gali. It is an urban village created and decorated by a community of young artists.
Champa Gali is lined with stunning murals and plants, as opposed to the cow shed and furniture shops that stood there a few years ago. The murals come from Beautify Earth Project , an organisation that focuses on ‘painting the world in colour’ by creating murals on dull concrete walls.
Akshat Dhawan is an entrepreneur and global ambassador for Beautify Earth Project. He holds a degree in Industrial Engineering with a specialisation in Industrial Design and after ten years in the US he decided to bring the Beautify Earth art movement to India.
In 2016, Akshat Dhawan collaborated with his friend Jasir Javed to start the ‘Mokuzai Studio.’ ‘Mokuzai’ is Japanese for ‘part of a tree’. The studio is inspired by Japanese minimalistic designs and problem solving skills, and was created so that a network of artists can be made through collaborations. It also aims at cultivating ‘liveable art in unkempt spaces.’
Combining the Persian art form Khatambandi with Japanese minimalism, with a dash of originality, Akshat collaborates with graphic designers, interior designers, architects, carpenters, metal fabricators and many other artists of sorts to create art installations, murals, product designs and 3D designs.
He loves visiting the ‘Loha’ (Iron) Market to get scrap metal pieces that he combines in his art installations.
Akshat and his team have so far created 40 murals, designed 15 cafes and turned many concrete corners into liveable art.
Various other groups and organisations are striving to help the country realise its full artistic potential, as well. Team CrossBow Miles - established in 2016 - has embarked on a 3,800 km on-foot journey across India and are painting 30 walls in an attempt to make India a safer country for women and in order to celebrate women heroes from all walks of life.
Organisations such as The Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art (FICA) and The India Craft Project are working towards providing a network to artists from various socio-economic backgrounds in order to help them grow.