Seated atop a bamboo structure facing a red wall, French artist Delphine Delas paints a mural on a pillar at Hitec city. Braving heat, noise and air pollution and stares from passers-by, Delphine continues painting. For the past two weeks, Delphine has been a regular at the Hitec City painting its four pillars. She is enthused to be part of this project. “It is an opportunity to show my artwork to the citizens of Hyderabad specially around Cyber Tower; the area is a financial district where thousands work and fulfil their ambitions.” A native of Bordeaux, Delphine has come to Hyderabad for the first time, thanks to the residency project at Kalakriti Art Gallery. “I have been interested in art since my childhood. I come from a family of painters; Hence it is natural for me to be in this line,” she shares. Also an art teacher, Delphine does a lot of street art and enjoys it because, “I love working outdoors and show my artwork to the public so that it is accessible for all.” Being in a new environment has influenced her work too. “I am seeing a new country and culture. Indian culture is rich, deep and there are intense colours too. In France, we do not have so many colours in the streets. The colours in clothes, flowers and shops have influenced my artwork here,” she points out.
Delphine considers Swiss adventurer, travel writer and photographer Ella Maillart as her model. She is working on Ella’s photographs. “Ella travelled a lot in Asia, especially India. She stayed in India during the second World War. She was a strong, spiritual and an inspiring human being. She delivers a strong message of freedom and as a woman I would like to pay a tribute to her. In my exhibition (to be held from December 1), I will present drawings that I did from her photographs. I also work with The Elysee Museum from Lausanne which helps me in my art project,” she explains.
An art historian, Delphine with a Ph.D in Fine Arts has an interest in literature, writers and travel writers. While she uses two themes and three techniques for her street art, she has a penchant for writers who travel and also talk about humanity and the world. “I work about mythological characters and I have a background of civilisations and history. I am interested in the Pagan civilisation and I also work about the popular classical writers. I like to pay my tribute to some of them; Specially the writers who talk/think about travelling. I love Arthur Rimbaud, Blaise Cendrars, Marguerite Duras, Ernest Hemingway, and Jack London. Everything is about imagination/reality and the borders of imagination and reality in my works. I paint on walls; I use collage and print papers on street walls. I also do mapping, video projection on big monuments.”
We ask her about challenges of painting the pillars and she quips, “New technical situations and air pollution.” She concludes with this wish: “I want to show my works in different countries and be a part of art projects. I wish my artwork is seen and appreciated by many and would also love to do mapping especially here in Hyderabad.”