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This is not Grafitti, it's Public Art | 5 Things You've Gotta Know About Brinda Project

Suchita posted on 16th October

By Suchita S.

Given the distances one usually has to cover in Delhi and the amount of time it takes, there's often ample time for looking at the car to your left, the cyclist to your right, and that rare sighting of a traffic cop somewhere in the distance. What one also finds is 'Ashish <3 Neha', 'We hate you Congress' {okay, I just came up with that}, and random 10-digit numbers sprayed on walls of homes, shops, marketplaces and flyovers. You'll probably spot an occasional Daku grafitti work as well. In 3 more-or-less hidden nooks of Delhi, you'll see bursts of bright colours, contouring in figurines and beautiful illustrations. This is the Brinda Project.

So first, the basics. Conceived by Brazillian artist Sergio Cordiero and co-created with Indian artist Harsh Raman Singh Paul, the wall art can be found outside Hauz Khas Apartments, in Hauz Khas Village {ahead of The Rose Hotel} and opposite Agarsen ki Baoli in Connaught Place. This isn't vandalism - the project's promoted by the Embassy of Brazil in India and they have all necessary permissions to do this work. The process? "Each artist manifests the perception and experiences of their culture, integrating its artistic records to compose a single frame that designs cultural links of the imaginary and popular practices."

Wall 3

Their works have become conversation starters, a welcome change in the general morbidity of driving/walking in fairly popular areas of town {though you have to wander around a bit to find these}, and moreover have been instrumental in encouraging interest in public spaces in our city - well, at least for me. Ever since I saw their work for the first time {in Hauz Khas Village, back in April}, I've actively started looking out at vacant spaces, hoping I find a black and white Brinda signature against another kaleidoscopic work. What would the story behind it be? What parallel would I draw to my life? With this project, like most things in this city, there's more that meets the eye.


Here's 5 Things You've Gotta Know About the Brinda Project |

1. Most commonly asked question: 'Why are you wasting your time?'. Most commonly received compliment: Chai+Samosas

Two men painting a wall in a public space is only obviously going to get the chatter started. Sergio and Harsh, with a concept in hand and a wall to their disposal, would start work in the morning and paint through the day. Passers-by - rickshaw drivers, cyclists, local shop keepers - all got involved in their own little way. It's uncommon to have people take interest in a public space for the love of making art; and this piques the curiosity of other people. Harsh explains "It's not an ad, you know. It helps take away from some of the daily stresses we all face, and through the work I hope people find a way to let loose and enjoy themselves."


2. Dead Spaces, brought back to life

Sergio and Harsh took up desolate, dead spaces purposely. The idea was to enliven places that are seldom looked at. While the pockets they've picked are fairly popular - Aurobindo Marg & Hauz Khas Village, and Connaught Place - the actual walls painted in these compounds aren't the most convenient to find. The 'Brinda Wall' in HKV is ahead of Kunzum, The Rose Hotel & Tattva - I spotted this while making my way to Creative Bee. I would've never seen their work opposite Agarsen ki Baoli had it not been for a recent cycle tour that I went on. It gives you that cool feeling, like you just stumbled upon something that no one's seen before. And moreover, makes you cognizant of places in your city.

3. Breaking Stereotypes

They're a lot of things that are typically associated with India and Brazil - think Taj Mahal, Statue of Christ, elephants and camels, beaches and more. Sergio & Harsh wanted to break away from the usual done-to-death symbols that we associate with both countries, and instead pick on themes that matter… themes with a conscience. They spoke with a number of Indians in Brazil, Brazilians in India and found topics, conversations and motifs that substantiate our cultures. Nothing in their work screams India or Brazil, apart from the Ganesha painted opposite Agarsen, which again is a part of a broader theme of faith and 'nazar bhattu's' {items that ward off evil}. The themes they've explored include the associations with life, death and superstitions. Explaining the concept behind the work in Hauz Khas Village, Harsh says "Death is always perceived in a negative way, for obvious reasons. But we feel that instead of focussing on life that's come to an end, it's rather important to focus on the life that was lived… and this is something we touched on through that work."

4. Two Cultures. One Creation. Many Interpretations.

Once the theme is decided, which varies across the 3 spots, Sergio and Harsh ideate on how to merge elements from each civilization which corroborate with the theme, and get cracking. The process hereon is fairly simple, you can have a look at a video here to see what goes into the actual painting and illustration. Because the work is fairly removed from generalizations, what it creates is an active interpretation and analysis of what each work is about. I had no idea what the work in Hauz Khas village really meant - I don't think I bothered applying myself till I crossed it for the third time and said - okay, now let's figure this out. Some are remniscent of traditions, the other calls out to a larger purpose - the coexistence of good and evil, and the Hauz Khas Enclave one just makes me want to get up and dance. It could mean something totally different to you, or have no significance to anything you do. But that it makes you think, question and imagine is what is most commendable.


5. Be Kind, One Wall at a Time

The best part about the project? For Harsh, it's the domino effect. While working on the HKV wall, a bunch of kids from the nearby slum would surround Harsh & Sergio. They were also visited by friends and acquaintances who'd watch these walls come to life. What started with a conversation about this Brinda Project, slowly became a creative workshop for the kids organized by these visitors. "They've actually started something called 'Pehla Kadam' as an initiative to help these children engage in creative ways… it's really amazing; goes to show that you don't need money to make a difference. You've just got to want to help." The impact Brinda Project's had goes beyond just better looking walls - it's that dialogue, the participation, the mutual give and take that it triggers that makes it laudable.

For more about the Brinda Project, have a look at their Facebook page here and website here. They're coming out with a documentary on the project soon. Stay tuned.

Related Post:
The Street Artist Named Daku