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Street art that speaks of social issues

A Delhi University student, Purnima Yadav creates wall art that revolves around various social issues such as girls’ empowerment and education, environmental issues and issues related to mental health. HT speaks to her about her art and the stories that it tells.

art and culture Updated: Aug 04, 2016 20:07 IST
Nikita Saxena
Purnima Yadav, a Kalindi College student, says her street art revolves around various social issues.
Purnima Yadav, a Kalindi College student, says her street art revolves around various social issues.

Art is a powerful tool when it comes to spreading awareness about social topics. Making use of this medium is street artist Purnima Yadav. A Physics honours student at Kalindi College, her street art revolves around the empowerment of girl child and various other issues.

Yadav says that her very first wall art was inspired by the logo of Girl Rising, a global campaign working towards girls’ empowerment and education. She adds, “It was during my first year of college that I got a chance to paint a wall. I came across the Girl Rising logo, which shows a pair of hands forming wings around a girl. I loved the idea of the logo. The same hands that could clutch a girl and keep her restricted could also set her free.”

Read: Every Delhi wall has a story to say

Talking about her journey as an artist, she says, “Art has been a passion since childhood. Even before I got into street art, I used to sketch and paint. It wasn’t easy for me to devote time to anything else as parents always expected me to focus on studies and not waste time on other things. For very long, my father did not know that I was into art. He still doesn’t know the extent to which I am involved in it. When he finds out, he will be furious but that won’t stop me.”

Yadav’s art on a dustbin depicting the harmful effects of industrialisation on the planet.

Like all other artists, Yadav’s art is also influenced by her immediate surroundings. She shares, “Being from Haryana has been a major influential factor. I was lucky to be blessed with a relatively understanding family that let me pursue my career but things were not the same for the other girls from my town. It agitated me that there were so many restrictions on girls and that became the basis of my artwork.”

Read: Delhi University students paint the campus in rainbow hues

Yadav paints a running horse, as part of a programme to pain the dreams of a schizophrenic patient.

Apart from girls’ issues, the artist also focuses on environmental issues and mental health issues. “When I worked on the dustbin, I tried to show the harmful effects of industrialisation on our planet. Similarly, a group of us volunteers had created wall art on the walls of a rehabilitation centre for people suffering with mental health issues. Under this project, we had to paint the dreams of schizophrenic patients on the walls. The patient I had been assigned had dreamt of a free, running horse so maybe it was freedom that he wanted. I try to highlight various issues through my art.”