Mission Delhi – Aditya Raj, CR Park
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Such a vivid series of cumulous clouds. There’s also a man with a moth perched on his mouth.
To a visitor at Aditya Raj’s studio in south Delhi’s CR Park, these acrylics on canvas might bear little resemblance to the real world. The 3 pm sky outside is dull blue and without clouds. The primary view from this fourth floor terrace is in fact of the neighbour’s pani ki tankis.
But right now, Mr Raj, 30, is sketching something straightforwardly relatable—the Majnu Ka Tila gateway in the north of the city. It is a part of his October project in which he is drawing one Delhi landmark per day, which he later shares on his instagram handle @adirajart. He first sighted the gateway many years back while driving along the Ring Road—“It stood out with its distinct design, and with the words ‘Tibetan Refugee Camp’… I’d no idea such a place existed in Delhi.” Mr Raj had then newly arrived from hometown Jaipur to join a law college in Delhi. He finished his graduation in 2016 and promptly became a full-time artist. These ongoing October compilations, he points out, mostly consists of places in the capital with which he finds a personal connect. Like the one on Delite Cinema he did last week. “My partner loves films, he’s a great fan of (late) Sridevi and some years back we went to Delite to see the pre-release screening of what turned out to be her last movie (Mom).”
It takes two-three hours for Mr Raj to rustle out each October drawing—which comprises sketching and colouring. Some of the other city places he plans to recreate include the Alka hotel in Connaught Place, the German Bakery in Paharganj (it’s now a 24/7 convenience store!), the graffiti lane in Sarojini Nagar, Little Saigon restsurant in Hauz Khas Market, and Sudama tea stall in Delhi University.
Meanwhile, a short walk away from his studio, an overgrown creeper on the roadside has clambered up to partially cover a signboard that details a local doctor’s consulting hours. The CR Park-based artist must consider this semi-wild spectacle, too, for his October chore.
[This is the 439th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
His October homework