“Astitva”, a conscience-pricking show of photographs and installations on defaced Delhi monuments, is now a permanent feature at the Children's Museum in New Delhi.

‘Raju loves Seema', ‘vote for NSUI', ‘Sajan Chale Sasural', ‘for glowing skin use…' — these are the regular messages engraved on Delhi monuments that we see and tend to ignore. The teaching staff of Delhi's National Gallery of Modern Art and their students couldn't. With encouragement from K.K. Mohammad of the Archaeological Survey of India, they have mounted a thought-provoking exhibition (photographs/installations) on Delhi's monuments that have been “wilfully and maliciously destructed, defaced, and damaged”. The site of the exhibition titled, ‘Astitva', is the Children's Museum.

Real on artificial

The most interesting part of the exhibition is that it is created with a lookalike edifice of a monument, with scratches, films posters, and graffiti. Inside, life size pictures on archival paper/digital prints expose the shameless doings of the visitors and those who have encroached and turned them into tea stall-cum-home, shops and lovers' points.

A section of the exhibition also tests the visitors' knowledge of Delhi monuments with an installation of small (LED) pictures/names of monuments with buttons to match them up.

The show that pricks the viewers' conscience is now a permanent feature in the Children's' Museum.