Art of commuting: Delhi metro stations double up as art galleries
Most Indians may still need a push to visit art galleries ...
Most Indians may still need a push to visit art galleries and museums, but when the national capital’s favourite commuting mode Metro Rail doubles up as a contemporary art gallery itself, it is not uncommon to see Delhiwallahs stop, look and even click an occasional selfie. Whether it is abstract or realistic art, colourful ceramic tiles or informative panels, the wide station network of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) seems to have it all covered, as the modern transport service that began in 2002 and continues to expand, zooms in on art and culture. The artworks at Pink Line’s Johri Enclave station are a tribute to the eminent classical artists of India. Creative portraits of great artists like shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan, noted flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, popular vocalist Shubha Mudgal and sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar dot the station premises. The Pink Line and Indian cultural symbols seem to coalesce in more stations, especially Gokulpuri and Shiv Vihar, which exhibit different dance cultures of our country: Dhunuchi, Bhangram, Dandiya Raas, Bharatanatyam, for the former and Chhau, Cham and Kathputli for the latter.
On the Hauz Khas station, an intersection of the Yellow and Magenta Lines, historical monuments galore. Lodhi Tombs, the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, Jama Masjid, and Humayun’s Tomb reflect the diverse cultural fabric of India. Many other metro stations are ready takers of art on history and heritage. Mandi House comes first to mind. he works here chronicles the journey of the area from brick kilns to a culture hub. Its panels display digital prints of original maps and vintage photographs, like a rare aerial view of the Modern School at Barakhamba, an old photograph of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru opening the Sapru House, and actor Naseeruddin Shah in a 1973 theatre production by theatre doyen Ebrahim Alkazi.